Corbella: Prosecution agreements aren't inherently bad, but Liberals have messed it up — Calgary Herald

Lawrence E. Ritchie

Feb. 14, 2019

Osler partner Larry Ritchie tells the Calgary Herald that the establishment of Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) was long overdue. A DPA is an agreement entered into between a prosecutor and a company alleged to have engaged in economic crimes. The effect of the DPA is to suspend the outstanding prosecution while simultaneously establishing specified undertakings that the organization must fulfil in order to avoid facing the potential criminal charges. In her article, author Licia Corbella examines recent allegations surrounding SNC-Lavalin and the federal government. The article discusses the implications of DPAs, which Larry says are much needed.

“This is not a get-out-of-jail-free card in any way,” Larry tells the Calgary Herald.

“On the contrary. There are huge reputational risks associated with being investigated and admitting to wrongdoing, which is a precondition to this kind of agreement. What this does is it provides an avenue for a relatively prompt resolution of a matter so that the overseers of the corporation in question can get on with serving the shareholders and stakeholders, including the employees, and not be unfairly delivered a corporate death sentence,” Larry says. “That outcome not only hurts the wrongdoers but a lot of innocent people who had nothing to do with the wrongdoing.

“It’s not appropriate in every case, but to have, like we have for so many years in this country, only a binary set of options of either drop the case or proceed to prosecution, DPAs significantly broaden the options before the prosecution and actually ensures that more criminal activity is prosecuted, not less.”

For more information, read author Licia Corbella’s article “Corbella: Prosecution agreements aren’t inherently bad, but Liberals have messed it up,” in the Calgary Herald on February 14, 2019.