Griffin, who was appointed to the Senate last year and was not in the upper chamber during the height of the Senate expense scandal, says she believes there was a “rush to judgment” of Duffy by senators who were in office in 2013.
“At the time that he was suspended from the Senate, he had not been found guilty in any court of criminal charges, so he really didn’t have an opportunity to have due process to defend himself on a legitimate basis,” Griffin said Friday.
“That is worrisome.”
Duffy filed a claim in Ontario Superior Court Thursday that alleges his 2013 suspension by the Senate was unconstitutional and a violation of his charter rights and that the federal government is liable for the RCMP's alleged negligence in its investigation.
In a statement, Duffy said he, his family, and other senators who were “unfairly targeted” have suffered stress and serious financial damage, and the Senate has shown no interest in correcting what he called its unjustified actions against him.
Griffin says the fact Duffy was found not guilty of all 31 criminal charges laid against him demonstrates to her that “perhaps all was not right with the whole situation.”
“Why were so many charges laid and why was nobody else charged? It seemed to be a singling out of one individual,” she said.
“I think he probably should not have been suspended at that time. If he were in the private sector, for instance, often when charges are laid against a person they are suspended without pay until due process has occurred, but it certainly was a very different standard in this case.”
Griffin says Duffy has been helping her learn the ropes in the Senate since her appointment last year. He was instrumental in helping her to pass her bill recognizing Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation in June, she said.
Griffin added she has a lot of sympathy for her fellow P.E.I. senator.
“He’s been through the mill and he couldn’t get satisfaction from the Senate’s internal economy committee, so really he had no other recourse but to enter into a lawsuit over this.”
The Guardian did request comment from P.E.I.’s other two senators, Libbe Hubley and Percy Downe.
Hubley declined to comment and Downe forwarded a statement issued by the Senate's interim law clerk Jacqueline Kuehl, which states the upper chamber will not be commenting on the case until it is appropriate to do so.
The Senate and government have not yet files a statement of defence.
With files from The Canadian Press