Thursday, September 29, 2005

Crown to appeal Coffin sentence

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Globe and Mail Update

Montreal — The Crown in Quebec has begun the process of appealing the conditional sentence handed down to Paul Coffin, the first person convicted for his part in the sponsorship scandal.

The sentence Mr. Coffin received was considered by some to be too lenient. The Montreal advertising executive pleaded guilty in May to defrauding the federal government of $1.55-million.

Earlier this month, a Quebec Superior Court judge handed him a community sentence of two years less a day, plus a weeknight curfew of 9 p.m. Mr. Coffin has also repaid $1-million of the defrauded money and has begun speaking to students at several universities on business ethics.

On Wednesday, the Crown served papers giving notice to Mr. Coffin’s defence lawyers that they were appealing the sentence. His fate will rest in the hands of the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Mr. Coffin will keep doing his university lectures for now, however.

On Tuesday, he spoke to students in a first-year organizational behaviour course at McGill University in Montreal. He talked about how he had mixed good business practices with bad ones and how he had fallen into a ”trap of making easy money.”

Students had a mixed response to Mr. Coffin’s discussion. A small group protested outside the classroom, saying a convicted criminal had no right to talk about business ethics at the university.

During his sentencing earlier in September, Mr. Coffin expressed remorse for his actions, saying he had made a mistake that had come at a great cost to himself and his family.

He made almost $5-million from federal government contracts received from 1996 and 2003, admitting to billing for meetings that never took place and for work that was never done.