Silence Sometimes Speaks

Conrad Black has cancelled his intended return to Canada, pending the hearing of his appeal. The sole reason is his unwillingness to file the necessary disclosure of his financial asset picture.

In law, there’s a Latin maxim, ‘res ipsa loquitur’ - roughly translated – “the thing speaks for itself”. In this case, it’s silence that is telling us something; but what? The purported reason for being unwilling to file the documents is the rather vaguely framed contention that the prosecution is “laying a trap” for Mr. Black to step into arising out of the disclosure. Hmmm?

We do know full well that the U.S. Justice Department takes very seriously any fudging of sworn court filings, so there’s every reason to take a cautious approach to the accuracy of one’s filings. What’s a little harder to surmise is how one could be trapped unless they weren’t being truthful in making their disclosure.

Here’s where Mr. Black has something of a chronic problem; he was so unforthcoming with financial information with his company affairs that he was deposed as CEO of Hollinger International and eventually got charged and convicted of a number of criminal charges. Whatever the outcome of his appeal, no one will ever accuse Conrad Black of being (uh, how do I say this?) candid in financial matters.

I’m less than enthralled by the notion of the judge who presided over his trial having jurisdiction over the terms of his bail, but the extension of Black’s persecution complex to such a nefarious purpose by the prosecutors is, quite simply, both abject nonsense and a poorly constructed smoke screen. If there ever was a time  to apply the old saying, “the truth shall set you free”, this would be it.

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