Corrupt activity spanned years

Rob Antle
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Former Labrador West MHA's sentencing set for Jan. 15

Two dozen kickback payments to a House of Assembly official. Forged invoices from people who don't exist. Expense claims altered to give him cash to which he was not entitled.

Nearly $140,000 obtained by fraud from his taxpayer-funded constituency allowance account.

Former Labrador West MHA Randy Collins admitted to all that and more in documents filed at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Friday.

Former MHA Randy Collins sits in Supreme Court Friday before his sentencing hearing. The crown and defence presented their arguments to Justice Lois Hoegg, who set a sentencing date of Jan. 15. Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Two dozen kickback payments to a House of Assembly official. Forged invoices from people who don't exist. Expense claims altered to give him cash to which he was not entitled.

Nearly $140,000 obtained by fraud from his taxpayer-funded constituency allowance account.

Former Labrador West MHA Randy Collins admitted to all that and more in documents filed at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Friday.

The former NDP MHA was in court for a sentencing hearing. He has pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 and frauds on the government, or bribing a public official.

Crown prosecutor Frances Knickle suggested to Justice Lois Hoegg that a sentence of two years less a day would be appropriate for Collins.

"Sentencing is not about vengeance," Knickle told the court.

But she noted that a "severe sanction of the conduct" is necessary to send a message to others who may consider committing such crimes.

Knickle cited the duration of the former MHA's criminal conduct - Collins admitted to paying kickbacks from 2001 to 2006, for example - and stressed that it was not a momentary lapse in judgment.

"A conditional sentence would send the wrong message in terms of general deterrence," the Crown prosecutor said.

She cited the jail terms recently imposed on other former MHAs who admitted to corruption in conjunction with the House spending scandal.

Ed Byrne was sentenced to two years less a day; Wally Andersen received 15 months.

Meanwhile, the lawyer for Collins, Edward Hearn, said his client should not receive jail time, but instead a conditional sentence.

Alternatively, Hearn suggested, any jail sentence should be a maximum of nine to 12 months.

Hearn cited Collins' remorse for his crimes, and recent health problems - the former MHA had a heart attack earlier this fall - as mitigating factors.

The defence lawyer also noted that Collins had agreed to pay back nearly $300,000 in total overpayments from his constituency allowance.

That figure is roughly double the amount for which he is criminally liable.

"He has accepted responsibility," Hearn said, contending that Collins provided "an unusual level of co-operation" in trying to undo the consequences of his actions.

The extent of those actions was outlined in an agreed statement of facts filed with the court.

Collins bilked taxpayers for most of his eight-year term as MHA.

Between late 2004 and early 2006, Collins filed eight false claims for research work that never actually happened. Total amount: $15,700.

Some of the "researchers" existed, but didn't do any work for Collins. Others didn't exist at all.

An assistant identified the writing on the false receipts as belonging to Collins.

Collins made a name for himself in the legislature railing against the evils of video lottery terminals, or VLTs.

In May 2005, he filed two claims for research on the VLT issue, totaling $1,550.

But no research was done, and Collins pocketed the cash.

The New Democrat MHA also admitted to filing $3,050 in fraudulent office rental claims. He actually received office space at no charge.

There were three other fraudulent receipts for $8,000 - for constituency work that was never done, advertising brochures that were never printed and purported promotional material.

And there was nearly $10,000 in duplicate claims filed by Collins between 1999 and 2006.

In addition, 35 constituency claims filed by the Labrador MHA were altered.

Those alterations gave him more money as "discretionary spending" - an extra $103,000, in fact.

The first of those receipts was altered in June 2001, just over two years after Collins was first elected to the legislature.

The practice continued until mid-2004, averaging one altered claim and roughly $2,750 in fraudulent cash a month.

Finally, Collins admitted to paying the House's director of financial operations, Bill Murray, more than $10,000 in kickbacks from late 2001 through early 2006.

The bribes were in the form of personal cheques from Collins to Murray, ranging in value from $200 to $1,350.

At the time, Murray was in charge of constituency allowance spending.

Offers apologies

Collins was contrite when asked by the judge whether he had anything to say to the court.

"I sincerely, sincerely apologize for my actions that led to my being here today," Collins said.

Collins expressed "shame" for what he did, and how it affected his family, friends and his former constituents in Labrador West.

"I'm sorry to them for letting them down," he said.

"I understand that what I did was wrong. I can't undo that, no matter how hard I might want to."

Hoegg said she would consider the lawyers' submissions, and set over Collins' sentencing until Jan. 15.

Collins is one of four MHAs convicted of corruption charges in relation to the constituency spending scandal.

Charges against two other people - Murray and St. John's businessman John Hand - are winding their way through the courts.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court

Geographic location: Labrador West, St. John's

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Recent comments

  • voter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    I was always of the opinion that most politicians could not get a job in real life and these five scum bags verify that claim.

  • Home Care Worker
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    we always heard crime does not pay. it does,and it pays well.each day i drive to work in home care and hear things such as this on the radio i feel sick to my stomach knowing on the end of the day my gross pay will be less then $90 and my take home much lower. i doubt if i'll receive extra in next years budget because we have to recover that loss and feed that %^^& in prison.

  • Yes
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Margaret from NL writes: How furiating and frustrating and maddening is our justice system.
    One kind for the ordinary person and
    another for politicians and any kind of so-called clergy, the wealthy, and prominent, no matter if they are thieves, child pornography, whatever crime.--------------------------

    Nothing has changed, Marg for a thousand years .....I don't expect any earth shattering revelations either..same ol' same ol'......unless there is a revolution in the offing!!

  • Skeptical
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    As much as Premier Williams detractors would vilify him, if it wasn't for the Premier these organized crimes perpetuated on the taxpaying public of NL would still be occurring. So all NLers owe the Premier a debt of gratitude for having that cesspool cleaned out.

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Look at that photo. He didn't have many people come out to offer him support.

  • GAR
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Randy Collins committed fraud and bribery over a 5 year period and his lawyer suggested he should not go to jail ? Only a lawyer could keep a straight face while saying that. So Collins maybe gets 24 months, big deal, he'll serve 1/6 of that and be out in 4 months. Two years less a day seems to be the maximum sentence that these crooked politicians can expect to receive. It's as if an agreement was reached behind closed doors that none of these people should be required to pack their bags and do time on the mainland. How else to explain that' 2 years less a day' nonsense ?

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I wonder how many more politicians have dipped into the finincial pot over the years? To be fair , square and honest, the Attorney General shoul roll back the books at his own descretion and see if there was other dipping. He is the devil in disguise now, and would bring justice to the province and the taxpayer. He would prevent others from having a good nights sleep, but thats it when you are greedy and dishonest.

  • Robert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Skeptical Cyninc - please enlighten us as to why anyone should be grateful to Danny Williams for discovering and investigating these crimes. The auditor general brought them to governments attention - any government (that's not corrupt) would have pursued charges. Williams just happened to e in the premier's chair when the activity came to light, no different than he being in the premier's chair when the oil revenue kicked in.
    Your hero worship is silly, I suppose that you'll be asking us to be thankful to Danny for the sun shining next?

  • evo4462
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Robert, I am no Danny Williams fan,however, it was he who allowed the AG to investigate. The government of Brian Tobin banned the AG from inspecting the financial affairs of the IEC. To his credit, Williams shot down that ban.

  • Whatever Bud
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Conditional sentence? I say,throw him to the LIONS!!

  • My3Cents
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I agree with Skeptical Cynic. Premier Williams legacy should be and probably will be his allowance of the Auditor Gen. to have a look at the books. I can't believe we the taxpayers of this most in debt province and highest paid political system in the country tolerate this corruption.
    And Ms. Knickle, if you truly wanted this crook in jail for 2 years less a day, why didn't you recommend a 10 year sentence. We all know he'll be free as jay by the summer.

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    This situation is just the tip of the iceberg! The time has come for the creation of an investigative task force comprised of RCMP and RNC, Auditor Generals office, document examiners, bank examiners, bankruptcy and insolvency investigators, access to information investigators, domestic and foreign registries of deed and companies investigators, forensic accountants and auditors from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency to investigate the activities of every department, Crown corporation and agency of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador which has ever existed between the years 1969 and 2009. An in depth probe of all of the legislative, fiscal and contractual activities of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador beginning from January 1, 1969 until December 31, 2009 is necessary. Such an inquiry may appear to be an onerous and difficult undertaking. I am informed that it is not impossible to do and can be undertaken using modern forensic accounting, lifestyle and assets to income audits, and other specialized computerized and investigative techniques. I suspect that the corruption, unjust enrichment, foreign bank accounts, shell corporations, tax evasion, creative accounting book cooking, contract overcharges/kickbacks, fraudulent claims, conflicts of interest, unlawful/inappropriate/unethical lobbying and numerous other misappropriations of tax payers money which has gone undetected in Government circles in Newfoundland and Labrador during the past 40 years would be staggering in its scope! That sort of lucrative, ruthless, collaborative and sophisticated corruption does not exist in a nice place like Newfoundland and Labrador you say. The sooner a major probe of Government operations gets underway the better!

  • don't make sense
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I wonder if your paper could find out what would happen to an individual if they defrauded the EI system of this much money.I am sure they wouldn't get off this easy. and why would the thieves be allowed to keep their gov. pensions,they will be repaying the money they stole from US with our money. ironic isn't it.

  • Louis
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    These guys never get enough time. All he's ever done is steal - he hasnt worked a day in his life.

  • sam
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    If i stole this money from my employer I would not get a break
    Slap the G.D. BOOK at the bunch of G.D.crooks,Their pay for their job is more than the most of us honest workers get from the get gol

  • dogloc
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    It is time that a law was set in place for a minimum sentence for crooked politicians,not time sentenced but the time that must be served.To serve 4 months of a 2 year sentence is a laugh in the face of justice.

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Further the Skeptical Cynic's comments, if Williams hadn't moved into the party's leadership role when he did, Byrne could have very easily been our Premier. It's only circumstance that got these guys caught. All the players and other elements were perfectly in place for continuous, long term fraud and it all got ruined by somebody thinking it prudent to let the AG have a quick look.

  • M
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Will be kind of interesting to see what sort of sham sentence this guy is going to get. I was always under the impression that if someone got sentenced to 2 yrs, plus or minus a day, then that meant that the person had to serve the entire sentence, plus or minus that day........but lo and behold, Byrne, who DID get a sentence like that, got out in 4 months. Big whoop. If you're going to sentence someone to a jail term, then sentence them, have them do their time as stated, and be done with it.
    This is beginning to resemble the Young Offenders sentencing........slap on the wrist sentences. What is our judicial sysyem becoming, i wonder? Can't staighten out the Young Offenders, and mitigate/minimize adult sentences as much as possible. Why even bother to have a judge there, if the sentence is basically ignored? What are they now, just highly paid figureheads at the front of the court?

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    The political system as we know it has not worked, nor will it ever. As long as human nature comes into play we will see further shady dealings by all involved. I doubt very much that any politician is without wrong doings. It will take the people to out them all for the crimes they have committed against those that entrusted them to care for our wellbeing.

    Time for a political witch hunt. Lets drag each and everyone of them through the mud and see who at the end of the day is without sin. I venture to say not a single one. We permit these corrupt deviants to write the laws they enforce onto all of us? Why? All the laws they have passed need to be reviewed to see who was paid and how much to push for them. Who benefited from contracts or appointments? This needs to end.

  • mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Not a fair move by this guy...Taking advantage of having connections. The money he wrongfully gained could have went to something decent like sidewalk clearing.... Who knows what he spent the money on.

  • Maggie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    APOLOGIZE....the only reason they apologize is because they got caught.
    Only for that, they'd all be still living high off the taxpayers' money, the very people who are already paying their top-notch salaries.
    Have a better than usual Christmas off OUR money. Hopefully, you will have too much shame to even show your face while your family members are opening their presents around the tree. They'll probably be thinking whether or not their present was purchased with stolen money!

  • Joseph
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    If Randy Collins is shown any leniency by the presiding judge, then, I honestly believe that the judge should be jailed along with the scum.

    Collins, the slime, was placed in a position of trust by the tax payers of his riding, and he betrayed their trust -- thus, he should be punished and punished severly.

    Are we supposed to have pity on Randy Collins because he had a heart attack? He brought this on himself, and I have no pity for him.

    A small-time hood who breaks a store window on Water Street, in many cases, will receive a jail sentence of two years less on day.

    How, may I ask, are potentially corrupt individuals supposed to be deterred from committing a crime?

    A clear message should be sent out to all government officials that if you break the law, you will pay the penalty.

    If this dows not happen, then, it is clear evidence that our judicial system is foundering and corrupt, and major changes are due.

    January 15, will tell the taxpayers of this province if the presiding judge has any back bone and morals.

  • Mr.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Well, I guess it was a coincidence with respect to Jim Walsh. Byrne, Collins & Anderson all had very similar things happen to them, and they ADMITTED it. Walsh is innocent, and just a victim. Kudos to Byrne, Anderson & Collins for being men and owning up to their thievery.

    Yeah right, the arrogance astounds me Jim.

    On a side note, the article states Collins bilked taxpayers for most of his eight-year term as MHA and I am pretty sure every MHA is bilking us for their entire term, legally or illegally, and certainly morally. There are 4 reasons to enter politics, (1) to make a difference which is very rare, (2)you are unemployable elsewhere, and/or (3) easy money if you got no conscious and a thick skin. (4) people seeking power or perceived power. Most fall into the latter 3 reasons.

  • Feelin Fine NL
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Although it does not absolve him of his crime, it is nice to see taxpayer monies being replenished by Mr. Collins. In most cases where an individual gets fined so much, they just declare bankruptcy and/or serve the jail time in leu of.

  • Margaret
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    How furiating and frustrating and maddening is our justice system.
    One kind for the ordinary person and
    another for politicians and any kind of so-called clergy, the wealthy, and prominent, no matter if they are thieves, child pornography, whatever crime. They get off with the utmost leniency. The judges themselves do not have a conscience. We are paying these politicians the highest kind of salaries and expense claims and travel allowances, etc., and they turn around and steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from us. And then we have to pay for their trials because they stole OUR money. And their families and relatives have to be just as bad. Surely
    they must have wondered or even questioned how they could afford the
    extra higher and above luxuries.
    God, I'm sick of this. We have a loved one terminally ill and cannot even afford a nice funeral for him; just the very minimum. These politicians's lawyers are saying they suffered enough because of the embarrassment and loss of respect and career; THEY BOUGHT IT ALL ON THEMSELVES. THEY'RE CROOKS AND CRIMINALS AND THIEVES, AND NOW THE PUBLIC IS SUPPOSE TO FEEL SORRY FOR THEM AND PITY THEM.
    How utterly stupid do these lawyers and judges think we are. Would we, the ordinary citizen, get the same pleadings from lawyers and judges? God, what an insult to our
    intelligence. Ed Bryne served only
    four months; what a laugh; what a joke; what a slap in the face to the very people who voted him (and the others) to represent us.

  • voter
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    I was always of the opinion that most politicians could not get a job in real life and these five scum bags verify that claim.

  • Home Care Worker
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    we always heard crime does not pay. it does,and it pays well.each day i drive to work in home care and hear things such as this on the radio i feel sick to my stomach knowing on the end of the day my gross pay will be less then $90 and my take home much lower. i doubt if i'll receive extra in next years budget because we have to recover that loss and feed that %^^& in prison.

  • Yes
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Margaret from NL writes: How furiating and frustrating and maddening is our justice system.
    One kind for the ordinary person and
    another for politicians and any kind of so-called clergy, the wealthy, and prominent, no matter if they are thieves, child pornography, whatever crime.--------------------------

    Nothing has changed, Marg for a thousand years .....I don't expect any earth shattering revelations either..same ol' same ol'......unless there is a revolution in the offing!!

  • Skeptical
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    As much as Premier Williams detractors would vilify him, if it wasn't for the Premier these organized crimes perpetuated on the taxpaying public of NL would still be occurring. So all NLers owe the Premier a debt of gratitude for having that cesspool cleaned out.

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Look at that photo. He didn't have many people come out to offer him support.

  • GAR
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Randy Collins committed fraud and bribery over a 5 year period and his lawyer suggested he should not go to jail ? Only a lawyer could keep a straight face while saying that. So Collins maybe gets 24 months, big deal, he'll serve 1/6 of that and be out in 4 months. Two years less a day seems to be the maximum sentence that these crooked politicians can expect to receive. It's as if an agreement was reached behind closed doors that none of these people should be required to pack their bags and do time on the mainland. How else to explain that' 2 years less a day' nonsense ?

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    I wonder how many more politicians have dipped into the finincial pot over the years? To be fair , square and honest, the Attorney General shoul roll back the books at his own descretion and see if there was other dipping. He is the devil in disguise now, and would bring justice to the province and the taxpayer. He would prevent others from having a good nights sleep, but thats it when you are greedy and dishonest.

  • Robert
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Skeptical Cyninc - please enlighten us as to why anyone should be grateful to Danny Williams for discovering and investigating these crimes. The auditor general brought them to governments attention - any government (that's not corrupt) would have pursued charges. Williams just happened to e in the premier's chair when the activity came to light, no different than he being in the premier's chair when the oil revenue kicked in.
    Your hero worship is silly, I suppose that you'll be asking us to be thankful to Danny for the sun shining next?

  • evo4462
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Robert, I am no Danny Williams fan,however, it was he who allowed the AG to investigate. The government of Brian Tobin banned the AG from inspecting the financial affairs of the IEC. To his credit, Williams shot down that ban.

  • Whatever Bud
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Conditional sentence? I say,throw him to the LIONS!!

  • My3Cents
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    I agree with Skeptical Cynic. Premier Williams legacy should be and probably will be his allowance of the Auditor Gen. to have a look at the books. I can't believe we the taxpayers of this most in debt province and highest paid political system in the country tolerate this corruption.
    And Ms. Knickle, if you truly wanted this crook in jail for 2 years less a day, why didn't you recommend a 10 year sentence. We all know he'll be free as jay by the summer.

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    This situation is just the tip of the iceberg! The time has come for the creation of an investigative task force comprised of RCMP and RNC, Auditor Generals office, document examiners, bank examiners, bankruptcy and insolvency investigators, access to information investigators, domestic and foreign registries of deed and companies investigators, forensic accountants and auditors from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency to investigate the activities of every department, Crown corporation and agency of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador which has ever existed between the years 1969 and 2009. An in depth probe of all of the legislative, fiscal and contractual activities of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador beginning from January 1, 1969 until December 31, 2009 is necessary. Such an inquiry may appear to be an onerous and difficult undertaking. I am informed that it is not impossible to do and can be undertaken using modern forensic accounting, lifestyle and assets to income audits, and other specialized computerized and investigative techniques. I suspect that the corruption, unjust enrichment, foreign bank accounts, shell corporations, tax evasion, creative accounting book cooking, contract overcharges/kickbacks, fraudulent claims, conflicts of interest, unlawful/inappropriate/unethical lobbying and numerous other misappropriations of tax payers money which has gone undetected in Government circles in Newfoundland and Labrador during the past 40 years would be staggering in its scope! That sort of lucrative, ruthless, collaborative and sophisticated corruption does not exist in a nice place like Newfoundland and Labrador you say. The sooner a major probe of Government operations gets underway the better!

  • don't make sense
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    I wonder if your paper could find out what would happen to an individual if they defrauded the EI system of this much money.I am sure they wouldn't get off this easy. and why would the thieves be allowed to keep their gov. pensions,they will be repaying the money they stole from US with our money. ironic isn't it.

  • Louis
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    These guys never get enough time. All he's ever done is steal - he hasnt worked a day in his life.

  • sam
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    If i stole this money from my employer I would not get a break
    Slap the G.D. BOOK at the bunch of G.D.crooks,Their pay for their job is more than the most of us honest workers get from the get gol

  • dogloc
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    It is time that a law was set in place for a minimum sentence for crooked politicians,not time sentenced but the time that must be served.To serve 4 months of a 2 year sentence is a laugh in the face of justice.

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Further the Skeptical Cynic's comments, if Williams hadn't moved into the party's leadership role when he did, Byrne could have very easily been our Premier. It's only circumstance that got these guys caught. All the players and other elements were perfectly in place for continuous, long term fraud and it all got ruined by somebody thinking it prudent to let the AG have a quick look.

  • M
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    Will be kind of interesting to see what sort of sham sentence this guy is going to get. I was always under the impression that if someone got sentenced to 2 yrs, plus or minus a day, then that meant that the person had to serve the entire sentence, plus or minus that day........but lo and behold, Byrne, who DID get a sentence like that, got out in 4 months. Big whoop. If you're going to sentence someone to a jail term, then sentence them, have them do their time as stated, and be done with it.
    This is beginning to resemble the Young Offenders sentencing........slap on the wrist sentences. What is our judicial sysyem becoming, i wonder? Can't staighten out the Young Offenders, and mitigate/minimize adult sentences as much as possible. Why even bother to have a judge there, if the sentence is basically ignored? What are they now, just highly paid figureheads at the front of the court?

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    The political system as we know it has not worked, nor will it ever. As long as human nature comes into play we will see further shady dealings by all involved. I doubt very much that any politician is without wrong doings. It will take the people to out them all for the crimes they have committed against those that entrusted them to care for our wellbeing.

    Time for a political witch hunt. Lets drag each and everyone of them through the mud and see who at the end of the day is without sin. I venture to say not a single one. We permit these corrupt deviants to write the laws they enforce onto all of us? Why? All the laws they have passed need to be reviewed to see who was paid and how much to push for them. Who benefited from contracts or appointments? This needs to end.

  • mark
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Not a fair move by this guy...Taking advantage of having connections. The money he wrongfully gained could have went to something decent like sidewalk clearing.... Who knows what he spent the money on.

  • Maggie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    APOLOGIZE....the only reason they apologize is because they got caught.
    Only for that, they'd all be still living high off the taxpayers' money, the very people who are already paying their top-notch salaries.
    Have a better than usual Christmas off OUR money. Hopefully, you will have too much shame to even show your face while your family members are opening their presents around the tree. They'll probably be thinking whether or not their present was purchased with stolen money!

  • Joseph
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    If Randy Collins is shown any leniency by the presiding judge, then, I honestly believe that the judge should be jailed along with the scum.

    Collins, the slime, was placed in a position of trust by the tax payers of his riding, and he betrayed their trust -- thus, he should be punished and punished severly.

    Are we supposed to have pity on Randy Collins because he had a heart attack? He brought this on himself, and I have no pity for him.

    A small-time hood who breaks a store window on Water Street, in many cases, will receive a jail sentence of two years less on day.

    How, may I ask, are potentially corrupt individuals supposed to be deterred from committing a crime?

    A clear message should be sent out to all government officials that if you break the law, you will pay the penalty.

    If this dows not happen, then, it is clear evidence that our judicial system is foundering and corrupt, and major changes are due.

    January 15, will tell the taxpayers of this province if the presiding judge has any back bone and morals.

  • Mr.
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Well, I guess it was a coincidence with respect to Jim Walsh. Byrne, Collins & Anderson all had very similar things happen to them, and they ADMITTED it. Walsh is innocent, and just a victim. Kudos to Byrne, Anderson & Collins for being men and owning up to their thievery.

    Yeah right, the arrogance astounds me Jim.

    On a side note, the article states Collins bilked taxpayers for most of his eight-year term as MHA and I am pretty sure every MHA is bilking us for their entire term, legally or illegally, and certainly morally. There are 4 reasons to enter politics, (1) to make a difference which is very rare, (2)you are unemployable elsewhere, and/or (3) easy money if you got no conscious and a thick skin. (4) people seeking power or perceived power. Most fall into the latter 3 reasons.

  • Feelin Fine NL
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Although it does not absolve him of his crime, it is nice to see taxpayer monies being replenished by Mr. Collins. In most cases where an individual gets fined so much, they just declare bankruptcy and/or serve the jail time in leu of.

  • Margaret
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    How furiating and frustrating and maddening is our justice system.
    One kind for the ordinary person and
    another for politicians and any kind of so-called clergy, the wealthy, and prominent, no matter if they are thieves, child pornography, whatever crime. They get off with the utmost leniency. The judges themselves do not have a conscience. We are paying these politicians the highest kind of salaries and expense claims and travel allowances, etc., and they turn around and steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from us. And then we have to pay for their trials because they stole OUR money. And their families and relatives have to be just as bad. Surely
    they must have wondered or even questioned how they could afford the
    extra higher and above luxuries.
    God, I'm sick of this. We have a loved one terminally ill and cannot even afford a nice funeral for him; just the very minimum. These politicians's lawyers are saying they suffered enough because of the embarrassment and loss of respect and career; THEY BOUGHT IT ALL ON THEMSELVES. THEY'RE CROOKS AND CRIMINALS AND THIEVES, AND NOW THE PUBLIC IS SUPPOSE TO FEEL SORRY FOR THEM AND PITY THEM.
    How utterly stupid do these lawyers and judges think we are. Would we, the ordinary citizen, get the same pleadings from lawyers and judges? God, what an insult to our
    intelligence. Ed Bryne served only
    four months; what a laugh; what a joke; what a slap in the face to the very people who voted him (and the others) to represent us.