OTTAWA — The Federal Court has decided not to overturn the director of public prosecution’s refusal to offer SNC-Lavalin a remediation agreement that would have allowed the Quebec engineering firm to avoid a criminal trial.
On Friday, the court ruled that the prosecutor’s decision “clearly falls within the ambit of prosecutorial discretion” and that SNC-Lavalin’s bid to have it overturned had “no reasonable prospect of success.”
The decision comes as the government reels from a controversy sparked by allegations that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and officials in his office inappropriately pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to order the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with SNC-Lavalin, out of concern for the company’s 9,000 Canadian jobs and for the Liberals’ re-election prospects. Wilson-Raybould refused, and was shuffled out of the Justice portfolio and into Veterans Affairs in January. She resigned from cabinet last month, after the allegations were made public in the Globe and Mail, and has since detailed to a parliamentary justice committee what she called a “consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government” to make her change her mind.