Monday medley: Senators behaving badly, CFLer gets booted, and a video-game court battle

Former senator Mike Duffy is pictured in this file photo. By Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The holiday weekend is done and there’s plenty happening in legal news. Here are some new and developing stories making headlines.

All eyes on Ottawa courtroom

The long-awaited and potentially explosive Mike Duffy trial kicks off tomorrow.

The disgraced P.E.I. senator faces 31 charges, including fraud and breach of trust over some $90,000 in inappropriate expense claims.

Among the witnesses expected to testify are the prime minister’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright and other PMO insiders. It’s widely expected, and even hinted at by Duffy himself, that the trial will expose some of the Harper government’s dirty laundry just months before a federal election.

It’s been a while since the Duffy scandal exploded in Canadian media, so here’s a quick timeline of events leading up to tomorrow’s big day.

Given that it’s a judge-only trial — no jury — there’s a great deal of interest in judge Charles Vaillancourt. The Toronto Star profiles the Ontario Court Justice’s extensive experience with controversial cases, a big step up from his early days presiding over small claims court.

Ottawa runs interference for CFLer’s immigration

We’ve seen many recent stories about how Canada’s overhauled immigration standards are leaving some wannabe Canadians out in the cold, even leaving seriously ill immigrations facing potential deportation.

Well, Ottawa has come forward to offer help one beleaguered candidate: a CFL player.

Ottawa RedBlacks’ quarterback Henry Burris has lived and worked in Canada for almost a decade, but immigration officials rejected his permanent resident application because his CFL career only counts as part-time work.

The Oklahoma native says he’s “pretty much Canadian now,” and hopes to stay here once he retires.

After the rejection news made headlines, an immigration spokesperson came forward and said the government will “work with” Burris to help him obtain residency.

Nintendo’s cross-border copyright fight

A Canadian YouTube sensation, who normally fights video-game monsters, could be in for a legal battle against a real-life behemoth.

Nic Truong, a.k.a. TetraNinja, makes a living creating Let’s Play  videos, where he plays and comments on popular video games. Game creators, however, are increasingly pushing for a share of that revenue pie with broad copyright claims.

Japanese gaming company Nintendo is now asking for 40 per cent of the income tied to any video starring its flagship characters Mario and Link.

There’s no official court challenge as yet, but it seems unlikely that Let’s Play-ers will give up so much revenue without a fight. Nintendo’s copyright claim may not apply in Canada, where Let’s Play could be considered “fair use” under copyright law.
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