Decision in brief: Bridging Finance Inc, Enforcement Proceeding, Request for witness summonses, May 16, 2023
In this enforcement proceeding, OSC staff alleges that David and Natasha Sharpe and the other respondents committed fraud. The Sharpes want the Tribunal to stay (permanently end) this proceeding because of what they say was an abuse of process. They say that the abuse of process arises from OSC staff providing confidential documents in the OSC’s court application to appoint a receiver over Bridging’s assets. The Sharpes say that the OSC first had to get permission from the Tribunal. See the March 30, 2022 reasons for the Tribunal’s earlier decision, agreeing with the Sharpes on that point.
To help them make that argument, the Sharpes asked the Tribunal to issue “summonses” for the stay hearing. A summons requires a person to come to a hearing and testify. The Sharpes want the OSC’s Chief Executive Officer, Director of Enforcement, two Senior Litigation Counsel, and one Senior Forensic Accountant to be required to come to the hearing and testify.
The Tribunal decided that the Sharpes were making the same arguments that they had made on their earlier request that the Tribunal require OSC staff to turn over certain additional documents. The Tribunal did not grant that request and decided not to grant the request for summonses for the same reasons. The potential abuse the Sharpes complain about happened in a different proceeding, there is no evidence of bad faith in this proceeding, and there is no reasonable basis to say that the summonses would lead to that kind of evidence.