The final word on Mayor Rob Ford’s appeal to save his job in the face of a conflict of interest conviction will come down Friday, Jan. 25, morning.
The decision from a three-judge Divisional Court panel will be handed out to lawyers representing Mayor Ford, and the legal team, led by prominent Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby, who prosecuted the case against Ford, at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.
An hour later, the decision will be posted online.
Ruby told Toronto Community News that all the parties had agreed not to discuss the decision until it’s released at 10:30 a.m.
Ruby wouldn’t comment or speculate on the case any further.
But for Ford and Toronto Council, the stakes could not be higher.
If the appeal is denied, then Ford will stand convicted of violating the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. The conviction stems from a February 2012 debate at council, over whether Ford should be required to repay $3,150 in donations made by lobbyists to his personal football charity. Ford both spoke on the matter and voted in favour of forgiving the requirement.
Under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, the minimum sentence for violation is immediate removal from office — and that was the sentence that Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland handed down.
If the appeal is upheld, Ford can continue as mayor.
If it’s not, then Hackland’s sentence stands and Ford will no longer be mayor and he will have 48 hours to vacate the office.
At that point, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday will step in as acting mayor, while council decides how to fill the position for the remainder of the term.
Council can either choose to appoint a mayor, or hold a byelection.
If they decide to appoint, they could choose anyone - including Rob Ford himself.
A byelection, meanwhile, would cost an estimated $9 million.