Judge orders Harper tape analyzed
An Ontario judge has ordered a supervised analysis of an interview conducted by a local author, the latest twist in the so-called Chuck Cadman affair.
However, Barry Gibson, the lawyer representing writer Tom Zytaruk, is questioning the independence of that review.
Zytaruk, also a reporter with The Now newspaper, taped Stephen Harper in an interview in 2005 about an alleged life insurance policy offered to independent MP for Surrey-North Chuck Cadman if he would rejoin the Tories. Cadman was dying of cancer at the time and held a critical swing vote in a confidence motion to topple the Liberal government.
The recorded interview was in preparation for a book Zytaruk was writing on Cadman's life.
The Conservatives are suing the Liberals for libel for making allegations regarding the incident on their website. The Tories have also hired two audio experts to analyze a copy the tape. Both have questioned the veracity of the recording, and one even said it was doctored.
Zytaruk has categorically denied altering the tape in any way, and has declined Conservative requests for the original tape and recorder.
Gibson doesn't want to see the original tape handed over to Tory lawyers.
"My client doesn't mind an independent review of the tape, the question is if the review is going to be independent," Gibson told The Leader Monday. "We have not seen the terms of court supervision, and so far as I know, the intent is to turn it over to Mr. (Richard) Dearden, who acts on behalf of the Conservatives."
Such an order would be of great concern to Zytaruk, Gibson said.
"What Mr. Zytaruk really doesn't want to see is this tape turned over to the Conservatives," Gibson said. "He's already given them a wire-to-wire copy for their experts to work on, and he doesn't want to give them the original for fairly obvious reasons."
Zytaruk told The Leader Monday he's looking forward to getting the tape validated independently, but that has to be outside of any political party or their representatives.
Zytaruk is scheduled to testify in Ottawa on Sept. 22 as part the Tory defamation action.