The former clerk of British Columbia’s legislature will serve house arrest for breach of trust over the expense of a new suit and shirts that he claimed as work attire.
Craig James, 71, has been sentenced to three months imprisonment but to be served in his home.
B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said Friday that because of the nature of the offence, a conditional discharge would be contrary to the public interest.
Mr. James will be under 24-hour house arrest for the first month, and for the remainder of the term he will be under curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
He has also been ordered to pay restitution of $1,886.72, the cost of the clothing he claimed.
The Crown had asked for a jail term of up to a year, while the defence wanted Mr. James to be given 12 months probation and a conditional sentence.
Defence told the sentencing hearing on Monday that the stigma of media coverage was enough to denounce his behaviour and deter others from future offences.
Justice Holmes said stigma of “sometimes scathing” media coverage was a factor in sentencing.
“However in my view, public criticism and blame through the media cannot entirely displace the court’s role in denouncing conduct and deterring others through the sentence it imposes.”
Mr. James was found guilty of fraud and breach of trust, but the charges were related to the same evidence, so the judge entered a stay on the fraud count.
In May, Justice Holmes found Mr. James not guilty on three other counts, including one related to a $258,000 retirement benefit.
During his house arrest, he will be permitted to leave for a two-hour period once a week to grocery shop, go to church and go to medical appointments for himself or his family members.
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