DDM lawyer tries to undermine credibility of Elections Canada investigator

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DDM lawyer tries to undermine credibility of Elections Canada investigator

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. - The lawyer for former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro is trying to undermine the credibility of the Elections Canada investigator who led the case against his client.

Investigator Alan Mathews is testifying at the election overspending trial of Del Mastro, once the Harper government's point man on defending the Conservatives against allegations of voter fraud.

Mathews says he and an assistant conducted an analysis of voter identification calls made by data consulting firm Holinshed Research for Del Mastro's campaign.

The Holinshed services are at the heart of the case, with the Crown alleging Del Mastro paid for them from a personal account, thereby exceeding a limit on personal contributions for the 2008 election campaign.

The Crown has also alleged Del Mastro tried to cover up overspending by using backdated invoices to make it appear Holinshed had only charged a fraction of the cost during the election period.

Del Mastro's lawyer, Jeffrey Ayotte, says Mathews didn't bother to obtain records of phone calls between Holinshed president Frank Hall and Del Mastro, nor did he obtain a warrant to search Hall's laptop.

Ayotte also suggests Mathews didn't adequately scrutinize an alleged discrepancy between the number of hours of service Holinshed claimed it worked for Del Mastro's campaign versus the number of hours a company payroll database indicated had actually been worked.

Mathews, who was called to the stand by the Crown prosecutor, says he did think the hours of service reported by the company database seemed lower than they should have been, but he didn't question Holinshed's president about them.

Del Mastro has pleaded not guilty to charges of overspending during the 2008 campaign, failing to report a personal contribution of $21,000 to his own campaign and knowingly submitting a falsified document.

He is expected to take the stand in his own defence.

Organizations: Elections Canada, Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro, Conservatives

Geographic location: PETERBOROUGH

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