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June 6, 2006
Do Not Pass Gaux

Chuck Guité, one of the handful of people who faced criminal prosecution for his part in the Adscam corruption case that brought down the Liberal government, got convicted of five counts related to the fraud. The presiding judge gleefully revoked Guité's bail, which means he will start serving time while the judge ponders his sentence:

Chuck Guité, the operational mastermind at the centre of the federal sponsorship boondoggle, was sent straight to jail Tuesday for steering money-for-nothing contracts to a friendly ad firm.

Guité, 62, clasped his hands as the jury foreman, a scrapyard manager, read the guilty verdict on five counts of fraud.

Justice Fraser Martin immediately told Guité he would go to prison for his crime — defrauding the federal government of about $1.5 million.

"I have no hesitation cancelling your bail conditions," the judge said, surprising even the Crown prosecutor with the swift incarceration.

Martin said Guité, 62, will certainly receive jail time after sentencing arguments Friday but it "remains to be seen how long it will be."

Judge Martin appears to have learned a little from the fallout of an earlier Adscam sentencing. When Paul Coffin's sentence for his part in the fraud amounted to probation and community service, Canadians were outraged. In fact, his fine didn't even approach the amount the trial proved he received from his fraud, and the only tough part of the sentence was a requirement to speak out against corruption at colleges and universities. Coffin later got resentenced to 18 months in prison when the Crown appealed Judge Boilard's highly lenient sentence. Jean Breault pled guilty to the same five counts as Guité and got a year more than Coffin for his trouble.

Guité deserves at least as much time. He stole more than Coffin, at least as far as prosecutors could determine for both men, and he also went back and worked at the firm he used to launder the money to remain close to the action. He has shown no real remorse for his crimes, and his position as a public servant is one aggravating factor that didn't apply to Brault. As the last of the three men charged with any crimes in connection with Adscam, Judge Martin may want to send a strong message about corruption and government officials as well.

Guité will have plenty of time to reflect on all of these possibilities, as he gets his head start on the sentence. He may well wonder, as many Canadians already do, why he is the last man to get charged with a crime that saw $350 million disappear through so many hands. (via Newsbeat1

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 6, 2006 9:14 PM

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