David Livingston is someone with no criminal record – but he has a long, long record of community service and philanthropy. He is a good man who made a mistake. But it isn’t a mistake that deserves the outrageous and excessive sentence he received today – four months.
- It is totally out of step with precedent. Dean del Mastro, to cite just one recent and notorious example, falsified documents and had multiple violations of the Elections Act. He got half the sentence Livingston did. Half.
- There was no criminal act. None. As the Judge himself admitted, more than once – no emails were deleted. Not a single goddamn one. How, then, could the same Judge arrive at such a ridiculous result? It flies in the face of the law and the facts.
- It doesn’t fit the “crime.” In fact, it is completely disproportionate to the alleged crime. Four months for “causing mischief to a computer”? Seriously: that’s what it came down to, at the end of a half-decade-long ordeal. In Canada – where, you know, this supposed “offence” took place – people convicted of low-level mischief (as here), and who have no prior record (as here), will always receive a probationary period with either a suspended sentence or conditional discharge. Why didn’t Livingston?
- It flies in the face of the key principles of sentencing. Those principles include denunciation and deterrence. And does anyone truly believe, here, that Livingston hasn’t been utterly destroyed by this? That his professional life is over, because he declined to listen to an ass-covering bureaucrat? Deterrence, too: I can assure all of you that every single political staffer in Canada has paid very close attention to this trial, and is appropriately deterred.
- It is so, so unfair. True story: the guy who was brought in to prepare those computers for use by a new group of political staffers? He’s a friend. He’s a good man. And, right around the time the OPP decided to target political staff for “deleting emails” that were never deleted – guess which organization he had been doing the same sort of work for, at the same time?
The OPP. And they – like every Crown office, like every cop shop, like every judge’s chambers – has a shredder, and a delete button on every one of their keyboards.
I guess they’re all going to be charged with “mischief” now, too.