Steve Ellis, former immigration adjudicator, stood impassively in court [July 29/10] as a judge sent him to jail for 18 months.
Ellis, 51, was found guilty in April of breach of trust and bribery after being caught on videotape trying to pressure a refugee claimant into having sex in return for a favourable decision.
Superior Court Justice Thea Herman said Ellis’s conduct “breached the significant trust placed in him” and undermined public confidence. . . A period of incarceration is required to send a message of denunciation and general deterrence, the overriding principles of sentencing in breach of trust cases”, Herman said.
The Crown had asked for a federal penitentiary sentence of between three and three and a half years. The defence had asked for a conditional sentence to be served in the community.
So did Sharon Louise Keller:
An accountant, she was sentenced to six months strict house arrest, two years probation and 50 hours community service for defrauding a school Parent Advisory Committee of $9,750, since repaid. She also lost membership (CGA) in the Certified General Accountants Association of BC and is barred from reinstatement.
Principles of deterrence and denunciation (Ontario Department of Justice)
The two sentencing principles given the most consideration in sentencing for fraud are general deterrence and denunciation. General deterrence is particularly emphasized in sentencing for large-scale frauds. Similarly, general deterrence is also strongly emphasized in cases where the fraud (large-scale or not) involves a breach of trust.
In R. v. Inglis it was held (R. v. Inglis,  B.C.J. No. 1551 (Prov. Ct.)) that:
The law has made it clear that unless there are exceptional and unusual circumstances, people who find themselves before the court on offences that involve a breach of trust should expect that a period of incarceration is the likely consequence.
A preference for custodial sentences may also be found in cases dealing with frauds affecting public funds.
R. v. Howe,  A.J. No. 1443, the Alberta Court of Appeal held that:
In order to express society’s abhorrence for those who would abuse this system, and to send a strong and clear message to others who might contemplate doing the same thing, only in the rarest of circumstances would less than a penitentiary sentence be appropriate.
R. v. Wilder,  B.C.J. No. 1030, 2004 BCSC 644
The offender was found guilty of 7 counts of defrauding the government. The trial judge decided that a total sentence of 9 years imprisonment was appropriate in view of the sentences imposed on Wilder’s accomplices and the need for deterrence.
R. v. Lawrence,  B.C.J. No. 3027 (C.A.)
In the companion case to Wilder, three offenders were found guilty by a jury of defrauding the government. Mr. Lawrence and one other offender were sentenced to 7 years imprisonment and ordered to pay $1 million restitution. The other offender was sentenced to 6 years and also ordered to pay $1 million restitution.