Court of Appeal of Quebec

Poirier c. Reine (sentence)

October 30, 2018

500-10-006174-161 and 500-10-006176-166

St-Pierre, Schrager, Healy

Appeals from a judgment sentencing a former mayor to a total of 18 months’ imprisonment and 3 years’ probation on various counts of fraud and corruption related to the awarding of municipal contracts. Dismissed.

The appellant, while mayor of the city of Boisbriand, together with his political organizer and certain engineering firm representatives, set-up and maintained a scheme of collusion and corruption to circumvent the process for awarding municipal contracts so that these contracts would be distributed among the different firms chosen by the mayor in exchange for various advantages.

The appellant and the Crown are appealing the sentence. The appellant wishes to serve his sentence in the community and the Crown asks that it be increased by a consecutive sentence of 12-months’ imprisonment on the breach of trust count.

The trial judge did not err as alleged by the appellant. He addressed the objective gravity of the crimes involved and the applicable sentencing principles. He weighed the appellant’s intrinsic liability, and noted the extent and breadth of the fraud, the complexity of the strategy, the appellant’s lack of remorse and acknowledgment of his criminal liability, as well as the prejudice caused to the public’s trust in its democratic institutions. He refused to sentence the appellant to imprisonment to be served in the community, and preferred incarceration to convey an unequivocal message of individual and collective deterrence. Moreover, he did not err when he assessed the sentence’s repercussions on the appellant’s family. Furthermore, the judge’s observations regarding the immediate application of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (S.C. 2015, c 13, s.  2) do not affect the sentence, as the amendments to s. 718 of the Criminal Code (R.S.C. 1985, c C-46) did not change the relevant elements to be considered when determining the sentence in this case.

Breach of trust, fraud, and conspiracy to commit fraud are closely related in this case and form part of the same criminal operation. The judge’s decision to impose concurrent sentences falls within his discretion. In addition, the aggravating nature of breach of trust is the cornerstone of the judge’s refusal to sentence the appellant to imprisonment to be served in the community, and the Court cannot intervene merely to accord a different weight to that factor.

*Summary by SOQUIJ
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