More than five months after it began, prosecutors in the criminal fraud trial of Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb completed questioning of their fourteenth and final witness earlier today.
In an abbreviated session, prosecutors questioned forensic investigator Gary Gill about his efforts to secure and catalogue the thousands of documents seized from the offices of Drabinsky and Gottlieb in the days after the Livent founders were suspended amid allegations that they had overseen a massive fraud at the company.
Gill, a chartered accountant who flew from his home in Sydney, Australia to testify, told the court that even 10 years later he still remembers finding a damning and controversial document in Drabinskys office.
In August 1998, Gill was working as a forensic investigator at KPMGs investigation unit when he was hired by new Livent managers to investigate allegations of accounting manipulations at the theatre company. On Aug. 11, 1998. Gill, John Beer a former RCMP officer who also worked at KPMG and testified yesterday and Patrick OKelly, a lawyer hired by Livent, searched the offices of Drabinsky and Gottlieb.
While the three men catalogued and removed hundreds of business files from Drabinskys office, Gill says he still remembers finding one specific document: a one page summary of problem expenses and other items totaling $21.22 million that had been moved into 1998. Gill says he discovered the document in one of two brown leather briefcases that were placed near Drabinskys desk.
This is probably the document that sticks uppermost in my mind, Gill told the court.
When lead crown prosecutor Robert Hubbard asked why he remembered this document specifically Gill replied that the document seemed particularly important.
We were dealing with allegations of financial statement manipulation, and as an accountant, this particular document looked to me as something that may be particularly relevant to the investigation, Gill said.
Yesterday, defence lawyer Edward Greenpan suggested to Beer that it must have been OKelly who discovered the document since OKelly was sitting at Drabinskys desk right next to the briefcases during office search. Who discovered the document is important to the defence since lawyers have all but accused OKellys law firm, Stikeman Elliott LLP, of participating in an elaborate conspiracy to frame Drabinsky and Gottlieb.
The document has been the subject of previous testimony by former Livent accountant Chris Craib. He told the court that he helped his former boss, Gordon Eckstein, create the document and witnessed Drabinsky take it out of his briefcase and wave it at Eckstein during an argument between the two men. Defence lawyers will cross-examine Gill tomorrow and are expected to complete their cross-examination of Beer by the end of the week. Beers cross examination was interrupted to accommodate Gills who needs to return to Australia by Friday.
So far, defence lawyers have given no indication whether they intend to call Drabinsky or Gottlieb to testify on their own behalf or if they will call any witnesses at all.
The trial continues tomorrow.