Criminal code charges laid against Sean Baird may impact a lot of vested interests in the city.

Crime 100By Pepper Parr

December 18th, 2019



The announcement that the police had a warrant to arrest Sean Baird may have had a number of people putting in calls to their lawyers.

Baird created a number of Ontario Corporations that were registered as Third Party advertisers during the 2018 municipal election that made Marianne Meed Ward the Mayor.

The Gazette was unable to elicit any comment from Sean Baird during that election – he basically said he had nothing to say.

Baird photo

Posters, reminding people to consider anonymously reporting criminal activity are being posted in Burlington bars and restaurants in a joint initiative between Crime Stoppers of Halton and the Burlington Restaurant Association. Taking part in the program’s launch are: front row from left, Const. Lad Butkovic, Karla Madge, Det. Const. Paul Proteau, Barry Glazier, Crime Stoppers of Halton Executive Director Dianne Hartwick and Mike Marcolin; back row from left, Ted Kindos, Sean Baird, Brian Dean, Burlington Restaurant Association President Craig Kowalchuk, Gene Quondamatteo, Mike Coles and Andrea Dodd. Baird is circled in red.

The election, one of the messiest Burlington has seen in some time, pitted a lot of vested interests against a public that wanted to retain the look and feel of the city, especially the downtown core where high rise condominium development applications were flooding the city’s Planning Department.

Police react to complaints – in Ontario they don’t go looking for infractions that might have taken place during an election.

Someone has to put information before them – then they take action.

Other than a concerned citizen – there were just three people who would have taken a complaint to the police.

We do know that the Halton Regional Police Service received a complaint and that they turned to the Ontario Provincial Police for help.

The charges that were laid came out of an investigation by the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch, with the assistance of investigators from Halton Regional Police. The Regional Police would not have a lot of experience or depth with this type of criminal offence.

The Provincial Police were asked to, in the language the police use, take carriage of the complaint.

The charges laid include:

Uttering a Forged Document – Contrary to section 368(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada

Fraud over $5000 – Contrary to section 380(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada

Corrupt Practice (four counts) – Contrary to the Municipal Elections Act.

The question on the minds of many is: Who took the complaint to the police and what were the police given in the way of information or evidence?

The Gazette published the names of the Third Party advertisers – they were all numbered companies, registered by Sean Baird. It was the Gazette that brought that information to the public.

Baird wasn’t running for public office –is it  reasonable to assume that he was acting on behalf of someone ?  Who?

When the police eventually locate and arrest Baird (at last report the police were still looking for him), he will be interrogated and then arraigned in Court at which point everything is public.

It will be interesting to learn who will defend Baird.

Related news stories:

The numbered companies

Arrest warrant issued for Sean Baird

Hanky panky during the 2018  election campaign.

The Baird numbered companies.

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5 comments to Criminal code charges laid against Sean Baird may impact a lot of vested interests in the city.

  • David do you have inside information regarding there is “a person or persons who engaged Baird to subvert the election”. There had to be someone who reported the crime which is the point made. The court room is the place to try the facts around conspiracy theories after the charges laid show there is such a beast.

    • David my point is you are assuming someone engaged him and it is inappropriate to discuss assumptions as though they are facts because people reading your assumption begin to treat it as fact and that can do a lot of unnecessary harm. Third party advertisers are not engaged, they simply choose to run an ad against someone they do not want to be elected. As a downtown business owner and based on what the ad said Baird chose to do what the law allows inform the public of his opinion with regard to two candidates for mayor. Whether his ad was defamatory is another issue. The charges, as far as we understand it are pertinent to the process. There are Municipal Act rules that have to be followed, it was a new election tool that was made available. Not one we agree with being available, but it is. If Baird screwed up the process contrary to the Act, he will have to pay the price? Many don’t. Charges are often laid knowing they will not get a conviction but hoping they will get a plea bargain to a lesser charge. We have multiple experiences of this with our advocacy work. We should all wait and see how this pans out which it obviously will. This could be one of those situations like the Vootman cookie thieves remember that? Regards and wishing you, your family, Gazette staff and comment participants a wonderful celebration time whatever this time of year means to them and a happy and healthy 2020.

  • Lynn Crosby

    I wonder where he is and I wonder from whom he wanted to flee … the police, sure, but perhaps also from others who are involved in all this … I suspect this will get a lot more interesting.

    • Interesting that our source for fraud investigations The Toronto Metro Police Training manual on Fraud Investigations says Uttering a Forged Document one of the charges Baird faces has not been used as a charge since 1955, only as a heading in the Criminal Code. It also says (probably in an effort to ensure their officers get it right) if uttering is used in the Information , the official charge document, the defendant’s lawyer could ask for dismissal based on the charge being an unknown law! Mmm

  • “Someone has to put information before them (police) – then they take action.” is not necessarily true, although we understand the point you were making. Our Pro bono ministry advocating on behalf of vulnerable people has documented numerous well-evidenced cases of criminal activity that has been totally ignored by the authorities. James Flaherty was only the Ontario solicitor general for six months but wrote to us confirming any report to police has to be investigated. This followed our advocating for a family related to child abuse that eventually ended in the death of a young man in our community. The Deputy Min. went to Halton police asking why no investigation and were informed that there were no complaints when there were numerous official documented police complaints! It was years later we learnt of their response and who had made it, too late to protest..

    On the other side of the argument we have seen young people and adults
    held without bail with the Crown hoping to avoid a trial with a guilty plea, sometimes they get it, you can’t pay the mortgage and put food on the table for your kids from jail and sometimes the truth wins out they are released and all charges dropped. No one knows the truth right now on this and yes we need to know, and we don’t see the Gazette doing anything improper, but we may never know the truth, and we all need to try and remember “innocent until proven guilty.” True we have seen first hand over and over again why and know most have not been in a position of advocacy that we have that taught us to understand the justice scales can be out of balance and often were in the cases we took on pro bono . Mullins Johnston spent 12 years in jail. After the Goudge inquiry a judge released him on the Attorney General’s position that a crime had not been committed, not because they got the wrong man! The person responsible for presenting evidence to court that did not exist was the highly respected government appointed official Chatles Smith! Let’s hope police and courts get this case right….it is very important to this community that they do. We need to know the rights and wrongs to protect our next election.