On April 26, 2015 the jury issued 60 “not guilty” verdicts for the six individuals and three corporations who stood accused in the 8 month long R v Durward trial. This case marks a milestone in Canadian bid-rigging trials; it is one of the largest proceedings of this nature to have ever occurred. It also established new precedents in competition and procurement law. The Charge to the Jury is particularly valuable for lawyers and companies currently engaged in any procurements or facing allegations of bid-rigging. This charge may form the basis upon which section 47 of the Competition Act is interpreted in the future.
Several of the accused elected for a trial by jury on 10 charges of bid-rigging contrary to section 47(1)(b) of the Competition Act and 10 charges of conspiracy contrary to section 465(1)(c) of the Criminal Code. In a jury trial, the jury is the trier of fact, but the judge instructs the jury on matters of law. Justice Warkentin’s instructions on the law in relation to this matter are extremely important as there is currently scant case law relative to section 47. It is the most recent interpretation of section 47(1)(b).
The Charge to the jury is not widely available to the public or lawyers. It is not a decision that is reported and available through online services. Instead, it was filed as an exhibit at trial. While it is a matter of public record, by offering the Charge for download here, Fasken Martineau hopes to make this important document more broadly available to the public and lawyers. It is anticipated that this charge to the jury will serve as guidance in the areas of competition, procurement and white collar criminal law. For additional context, read Charge to the Jury in R. v. Durward: Trial Judge Provides Guidance in Canadian Bid-Rigging and Federal Procurement Law.”