Dean Del Mastro’s election overspending merits only a fine, lawyer argues

A lawyer for Dean Del Mastro says the former Conservative MP should face nothing more than a fine for having been found guilty of violating the Canada Elections Act.

LINDSAY, Ont. — A lawyer for Dean Del Mastro says the former Conservative MP should face nothing more than a fine for having been found guilty of violating the Canada Elections Act.

Leo Adler says his client was never charged with corruption, but was instead found guilty of overspending during the 2008 election — a violation he says does not warrant any jail time.

The arguments are being made at a sentencing hearing for Del Mastro, at one time Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s one-time point man on defending the Tories against allegations of electoral fraud.

Crown prosecutors in the case have asked for between nine to 12 months in jail for Del Mastro, arguing that only time behind bars would adequately reflect the gravity of his offences.

Del Mastro was found guilty of exceeding spending limits, failing to report a personal contribution of $21,000 to his own campaign and knowingly submitting a falsified document.

He faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine on each of the three offences.

Del Mastro resigned his House of Commons seat days after the verdict, but has maintained his innocence throughout his legal battles.

His lawyer said Del Mastro gave up his position as an MP “for the good of the community.”

“When one considers his past background, his past exemplary conduct and his fall from grace, it’s clear that his rehabilitation and the issue of specific deterrence is not necessary to be at the forefront,” Adler said.

Crown prosecutors have argued, however, that Del Mastro has refused to accept his convictions, which makes jail time all the more necessary.

“Mr. Del Mastro does not seem to get the consequences of his actions and what he was convicted of, and the seriousness of those actions,” Crown prosecutor Tom Lemon has said.

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