Sentencing hearing for Halifax navy intelligence officer in spy case resumes

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HALIFAX - The sentencing hearing for a navy officer who sold military secrets to Russia will resume today in Halifax following testimony that offered conflicting accounts of the damage he may have caused.

Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle has pleaded guilty in a landmark case that has captivated legal and security experts since he was arrested a year ago.

Witnesses for the Crown told the provincial court on Thursday that Delisle's treachery harmed Canada's relations with its allies and could have endangered the lives of Canadian intelligence agents.

But Wesley Wark, a security and intelligence expert who testified for the defence, said it would be difficult to prove Delisle caused much real damage because police intercepted only two attempted transmissions during the time he was selling secrets.

In an agreed statement of facts presented to the court, Delisle admits that he accepted nearly $72,000 in exchange for selling secrets to Russia for nearly five years.

He was charged in January of last year with one count of breach of trust and two charges of passing information to a foreign entity that could harm Canada's interests.

He is the first person to be sentenced under Canada's Security of Information Act, which was passed after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The breach of trust charge carries a maximum sentence of five years, while the other charges each carry a life sentence.

Delisle joined the navy as a reservist in 1996, became a member of the regular forces in 2001 and was promoted to an officer rank in 2008.

Geographic location: Halifax, Canada, Russia

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