Former territorial Liberal candidate Tamara Goeppel has pleaded guilty to one count of of aiding or abetting people in making proxy voting applications that didn’t comply with the Elections Act in relation to her conduct during the 2016 territorial election.
Goeppel’s lawyer, Richard Fowler, entered the plea on her behalf the morning of Aug. 28, the second day of what was scheduled to be a week-long trial.
There have been “ongoing discussions” between the defence and Crown throughout the court process, Fowler said, and Goeppel wished to acknowledge her actions and plead guilty to the one count.
Two other charges against Goeppel are expected to be stayed.
A sentencing hearing with a joint submission is expected to be held tomorrow morning.
Goeppel ran against the NDP’s Liz Hanson in Whitehorse Centre during the November 2016 territorial election. She was charged in February 2017 with two counts of aiding or abetting people in making proxy voting applications that didn’t comply with the act and one count of prompting people to falsely declare on proxy applications that they would be absent from the Yukon during voting hours.
The charges were the result of an investigation triggered by a man calling the Elections Yukon office to complain that Goeppel and her campaign manager had solicited him at his home.
In total, Goeppel assisted 10 people fill out proxy voting application forms. All 10 were marginalized people with unstable housing.
Goeppel told media at the time that she believed that everyone should have an opportunity to vote and that marginalized people faced a number of barriers that prevented them from casting a ballot.
Goeppel’s guilty plea came after the court had already heard the testimony of two witnesses — David Wilkie, Elections Yukon’s assistant chief electoral officer, and Earl MacLeod, a man who Goeppel had assisted in filling out a proxy application.
It also came after the News successfully petitioned to have a subpoena against editor Ashley Joannou to testify at the trial quashed.
Goeppel and Fowler declined to comment as they left the court following the guilty plea.
Crown attorneys Leo Lane and Lauren Whyte also declined to comment.
More to come
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org