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Explain Rahim Jaffer sentence, ministers told Add to ...

Joe Comartin doesn't believe Rahim Jaffer received favourable treatment for his driving conviction but he wants the federal and Ontario governments to tell Canadians that.

Mr. Comartin, the NDP justice critic and former long-time trial lawyer, believes there is a risk that the Jaffer case will shake the integrity of the judicial system.

And so he has written two letters - to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Ontario Attorney-General Chris Bentley - asking that the details of Mr. Jaffer's sentence be made public.

"I would ask you to accept the request in this correspondence in the spirit of good faith intended by me but also on behalf of all Canadians who are questioning whether Mr. Jaffer received favourable treatment," he writes in his letter to Mr. Nicholson.

"I want to be clear that I personally do not believe that to be the case. … However, in this case I believe it is absolutely necessary that disclosure of the reasons for dropping these two charges must be made public as soon as possible."

Earlier this week, Mr. Jaffer pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving and was fined $500. More serious charges against him, including possession of cocaine, drunk drinking and speeding were dropped.

Immediately, questions were raised about political interference as Mr. Jaffer is a former Tory MP and is married to Helena Guergis, Stephen Harper's minister of state for the status of women.

Among those doing the questioning is Mr. Comartin.

"Given the circumstances of the case and the high-profile stature of the accused and given the public reaction to the decision, I believe there is a risk that faith in the integrity of our justice system will be seriously challenged," he writes.

He also notes that the drug charge against Mr. Jaffer is a federal issue. And he has asked Mr. Nicoholson to direct the Director of Public Prosecutions, who is a federal appointee, to "provide full disclosure to the public of the rationale behind the decision to withdraw the possession of cocaine charge against Mr. Jaffer."

In his letter to Mr. Bently, the provincial Attorney-General, Mr. Comartin says he is concerned about the "lack of clarity" around the case and the "public perception of preferential treatment of Mr. Jaffer."

"I believe that the decision by your Crown Attorney to withdraw the impaired driving charge and the possession of cocaine charge, poses a very real risk [to faith in the justice system]"

Since Mr. Jaffer's plea earlier this week, even Tories - like Mr. Harper's former spokesman Kory Teneycke - have been calling for transparency on the sentence.

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