The court case that has intrigued a nation, and raised questions about transparency with the Guelph Police Service, made it’s way to a Guelph courtroom on Friday… to be continued. As Tabbara went to court, the national broadcaster reported new information that allegations about the Kitchener-South Hespeler Member of Parliament were known by the Liberal Party before the 2019 election, and he was allowed to run anyway.
First, the court proceeding. In a very quick action first thing Friday morning, a Guelph court adjourned Tabbara’s case until August 28. Because of the pandemic, public participation in cases held at the Ontario Court of Justice on Wyndham Street is virtual by tele-conference. Tabbara was not heard in the audio of the hearing.
Earlier on Friday morning, CBC posted an article on its website that stated accusations of sexual harassment had been made against Tabbara dating back to his initial campaign in Kitchener during the 2015 Federal Election. According to the CBC’s sources, Tabbara was accused of inappropriate touching and unwelcome sexual comments directed at a female staffer. CBC further confirmed that the Liberal Party’s internal investigation determined that some of the allegations were substantiated.
Further to CBC’s reporting, the allegations were reported multiple times to the Liberal Party over several years, and in advanced of the 2019 Federal Election. Because of the investigation into the allegations, Tabbara’s application to run again as the Liberal candidate in Kitchener-South Hespeler was delayed by several months. The process to review a party candidate is usually fairly brief, especially when the candidate running is an incumbent.
Tabbara’s executive assistant told the CBC “No comment” when they asked for a response to their findings.
Tabbara’s arrest was made public earlier this month with reporting by the National Post, and at the time the Prime Minister’s Office claimed to know nothing about the arrest until it was reported. According to the CBC, the party did not take the alleged misconduct seriously when it was report to them, and staff members in the PMO are apparently not reporting allegations of sexual harassment when they hear about them. At least one of the people that knew about the allegations against Tabbara now works in the PMO.
Tabbara was arrested by Guelph Police Service on April 9, and was held overnight before being arraigned in a London court on Friday April 10, which was Good Friday. Tabbara’s arrest was never made public in any of the Police Service’s daily media releases, and no description of the charges Tabbara faces, or the fact that a suspect meeting Tabbara’s description was arrested and charged, was also never made public. Guelph Police released a public statement a week after the Post report saying that they did not believe Tabbara represented a threat to the public, which is why his arrest was never disclosed.
Tabbara is charged with two counts of assault, one count of break and enter, and commit an indictable offence, and one count of criminal harassment. The allegations have not been proven in a court of law.