Former mayor Andrew Miller has been found guilty of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the Decatur Power Plant disaster, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has found.
In a unanimous decision Tuesday, Justice Robert L. Martin ruled that Miller should not be allowed to continue in his role as the city’s director of energy and water resources.
Miller, 61, was a member of the Decatres council for 12 years from 2003 to 2011.
The verdict will be read at 10 a.m.
Wednesday at the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Miller was acquitted of a lesser charge of criminal conduct causing death.
The trial was the first in the case of a former municipal official charged in connection to the disaster.
The court heard that in the days before the power plant’s collapse, Miller made phone calls and emailed people from his personal email account.
He also sent emails to his office director, who had a private email account and never saw Miller’s personal email address, the court heard.
The decision will be appealed to the Ontario Civil Liberties Association.
Miller has said he believes the court was wrong to convict him on the lesser charge, because he had no prior criminal record.
The case began when the Decaratres council voted in January 2015 to award power company AEC to run the Decater power plant in Decatur.
It was to be operated by AEC, which was to provide power to Ontario Hydro and the city.
The power plant went offline at the end of July, triggering the largest natural disaster in Ontario’s history.
Miller resigned as Decatur’s director on Oct. 31, 2015.
In the days after the power shut down, Miller emailed the city about a proposal to install solar panels to be installed in the area.
On Dec. 13, 2015, Miller wrote to a staff member that he would be “extremely grateful if you could please look at this idea as it could help our economy in the long term.”
Miller said he wanted to have solar panels installed in his own home, but the staff member did not provide a detailed description of the proposed project.
He said the staff representative did not contact him about the project, saying the request was not to be made publicly, the jury heard.
On Nov. 7, Miller sent a memo to city staff saying he would not be attending a Decatur City Council meeting to talk about the solar project because he “will be getting married the next day and I do not want to be associated with the city at this time.”
Miller also wrote to city council about a proposed plan to build a greenhouse in the Decattos backyard, which would produce a greenhouse-gas-free energy source.
The proposal also called for the building of an underground facility to store the plant’s waste and to provide a cooling system for the plant.
AEC did not have the permission to install the greenhouse, the city said.
Miller did not attend the Decatares council meeting, but on Nov. 9, the council voted to approve the project.
Miller and the council approved the plan after the city provided AEC with detailed financial and operational information about the proposal.
On Oct. 29, 2016, Miller and his wife attended a meeting in a basement apartment to discuss the proposal, the trial heard.
During the meeting, Miller gave a presentation to council about the greenhouse project, the prosecution alleged.
At one point during the presentation, Miller asked council to approve a plan to install a greenhouse on his property in his backyard, the prosecutors alleged.
Miller also told the council that he believed that if the project was approved, he would receive $50,000 from AEC for the project in cash.
Miller told the jury he was not aware of the potential for any adverse consequences if AEC rejected the proposal to build the greenhouse.
A few days later, Miller returned to the council chamber to make a presentation, the prosecutor said.
When Miller was asked what he thought about the city approving the greenhouse proposal, he replied: “I don’t think it’s a bad idea.”
After the meeting ended, Miller told council that his wife had been in tears during the meeting.
Miller said in his statement that he did not know the details of the project when he presented it to council.
He added that he was in the process of purchasing a $20,000 home in the neighbourhood and that he thought it would be best to have the greenhouse installed there.
Miller testified that he had told his wife he would have a better job at the greenhouse and that the greenhouse would provide jobs.
In his statement, Miller said his wife’s tears were the first thing he remembered.
The city said the council’s decision was based on information it received from the company.
It said the greenhouse was not a viable option at the time.
Miller’s wife testified that she had no idea how to manage the greenhouse until the council had approved the project on her behalf.
The prosecution also said that Miller’s