08172017Headline:

Halifax, Atlantic Canada

HomeNova ScotiaHalifax

Email John McKiggan Q.C. John McKiggan Q.C. on LinkedIn John McKiggan Q.C. on Twitter John McKiggan Q.C. on Facebook
John McKiggan Q.C.
John McKiggan Q.C.
Attorney • (902) 423-2050

Lahey Free After Child Porn Conviction

Comments Off

Raymond Lahey, the former Bishop of Antigonish, found out today that he is a free man after pleading guilty last May to possession of child pornography.

Lahey surprised the court last year by abruptly withdrawing his not guilty plea and pleading guilty. What was a bigger surprise was that Lahey told the court he wanted to go to jail immediately pending his sentencing hearing.

I speculated at the time that Lahey's guilty plea was less a sign of contrition and more likely a legal tactic to gain advantage during his sentencing. Courts in Canada have typically granted a two for one credit for time served while awaiting sentencing.

Last year Canada changed the law, forbidding the 2 for 1 sentencing credit. But Lahey's lawyer successfully argued because Lahey was charged in 2009 and the sentencing rules were not changed until 2010, he should still be entitled to the 2 for 1 credit.

So the eight months he has served so far translates into sixteen (16) months in the eyes of the court.

Lahey's lawyer asked for a one year sentence, the minimum that the court can impose under federal sentencing rules. The Crown has asked for a sentence of 18 to 22 months.

Today, the judge sentenced Lahey to 15 months in jail and two years probation. So with the 2 for 1 credit for time served, Lahey will be released today!

In his ruling the judge indicated he had to balance the principle of deterrance with the medical evidence that indicated Lahey was at low risk to reoffend.

What do you think? Has justice been served? Is the sentence appropriate?