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Candidates forgiven: Part 2

The 2010 municipal election in Fort Erie is now over.

The Niagara compliance audit committee cleared all six candidates of deliberate wrong-doing in the second round of hearings into their election finances.

Infractions by councillor Stephen Passero, Mayor Doug Martin and former councillor Ann-Marie Noyes are not serious enough to merit prosecution in court, the committee ruled Wednesday night.

The committee made similar judgments regarding councillors Paul Collard, John Hill and Don Lubberts on Tuesday.

In advising the committee, lawyer Stu Ellis said it is not the role of the court to prosecute “modest contraventions” of the Municipal Elections Act.

The purpose of court proceedings are to maintain the confidence of the electorate in the election process and its integrity.

“Those are the words of the Superior Court, not mine,” he said.

When considering a matter, a judge would consider the “scale” of the controvention and whether prosecution is “reasonable and fair,” he said.

Committee member John Bice said there are areas of the Act that are vague and confusing and suggested the committee make a resolution asking the provincial government to review the legislation.

Committee chairman Dave Barrett said it might be more appropriate for the committee of municipal clerks in the region to recommend to local councils to make the request.

Complete story in the upcoming edition of The Ridgeway Herald later this week.

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