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Labrador driving examiner gets house arrest for taking bribe

Scott Norman, formerly the only driving examiner in Labrador, was given five months house arrest for taking a bribe during a driving exam. - FILE PHOTO
Scott Norman, formerly the only driving examiner in Labrador, was given five months house arrest for taking a bribe during a driving exam. - FILE PHOTO

A Labrador driving examiner who was caught taking a bribe in an RCMP sting was sentenced to five months house arrest on Thursday.

Scott Norman of Happy Valley-Goose Bay had pleaded guilty at an earlier date to the single charge of breach of trust by a public official and his lawyer, Robert Simmonds, had asked the court for a conditional sentence order, more commonly known as house arrest.

Crown prosecutor Brandon Gillespie had asked for jail time for Norman, who he said potentially put the public at great risk by allowing people without the proper skills to drive on the road.

Norman had worked with Service NL for nine years and was the only driving examiner in Labrador at the time of his arrest. He was terminated from that job and another one at a group home following the charges, and has since found employment elsewhere.

Norman was arrested when the RCMP received a tip that he was taking money in exchange for passing marks on driving tests and that he was targeting new Canadians. An undercover RCMP officer was sent on a driving test with Norman on June 12, 2019, and Norman almost immediately offered the pass in exchange for money. He was arrested the same day.

Judge Rolf Pritchard said it was clear from the evidence presented and a pre-sentence report done on Norman that he was remorseful for his actions, was a low risk to reoffend and was a contributing member of society. He said serious aggravating factors in the case were that public safety had potentially been compromised and that Norman targeted new Canadians.

Pritchard referenced the 2000 Supreme Court ruling of R v. Proulx, which said "the stigma of a conditional sentence with house arrest should not be underestimated. Living in the community under strict conditions where fellow residents are well aware of the offender’s criminal misconduct can provide ample denunciation in many cases. In certain circumstances, the shame of encountering members of the community may make it even more difficult for the offender to serve his or her sentence in the community than in prison."

Pritchard said the exploitation of new Canadians and licensing of potentially unqualified drivers clearly calls for deterrence and denunciation, but he’s not convinced those can’t be met with a conditional sentence.

“The matter has been well publicized and the offender’s family and the offender had to endure this,” he said. “Perhaps in the case of the offender, deservedly so.”

He said incarcerating Norman would further victimize his family and his employer.

In addition to the house arrest, Norman was sentenced to two years’ probation. While he is on house arrest, Norman is only allowed to leave for school, work, appointments or church. Pritchard said Norman will also be allowed to leave his house one hour a day for exercise and will be given five hours a week to run errands.

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