英文报道 from The Star
While still a citizenship judge in February 2012, Gaynor began stealing exam papers and providing them to Scarborough immigration consultant Li Ling, 49, whom he had meet in 2007, and her assistant Mo Sui Zhun, 58. Brownstone said this continued even after Gaynor’s retirement in September 2012, lasting until about April 2013. Li and Mo were charged with possession of stolen property last year. The status of those charges is unclear.
The papers were then given to citizenship applicants who went through Li’s consulting business. The court heard that Gaynor had engaged in a “social” and later “personal” relationship with Li — inappropriate given his position, said Brownstone — and was paid in cash for the papers. It is unclear how many applicants benefitted from this arrangement.
Gaynor was arrested in May 2013 and pleaded guilty earlier this year to breach of trust and fraud over $5,000, in relation to collecting EI benefits after his retirement but while still receiving income from Li. Brownstone noted that Gaynor did pay more than $11,000 in restitution last month. He sentenced Gaynor to 90 days for fraud, to be served concurrently with the three-year sentence.
In 2010, the Conservative government launched a new citizenship test and raised the passing mark to 75 per cent from 60 per cent. The failure rate almost tripled as a result. The 20 multiple-choice questions measure applicants’ knowledge of Canadian history, culture and values. Besides passing the test, they must demonstrate proficiency in English or French, and have no criminal record.
“The sentencing of former Citizenship Judge Philip Gaynor demonstrates that Canadian citizenship is not for sale,” said Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokeswoman Johanne Nadeau. The CIC now has various measures in place such as scrambling of test questions, making the type of crime committed by Gaynor much more difficult to carry out. The CIC is also in the process of moving to a new electronic testing system.
Crown attorney Julie Battersby had asked for a three- to four-year prison sentence, saying Gaynor’s actions were carried out over several months and were not a simple oversight. She said the country as a whole was a victim of his crimes.
Defence lawyer Brian Scott requested two years, pointing out his client’s age, lack of a criminal record, close family ties and good standing in his community. He also asked Brownstone to consider a conditional sentence, but admitted that the case law stipulates that the appropriate sentence for breach of trust is prison time.
Brownstone took issue with Gaynor’s statement that he didn’t want to see “good people” be denied citizenship because they failed the multiple-choice test. He said Gaynor was clearly worried about finances with his retirement imminent, and wanted to make some extra money.
The position of citizenship judge is a political, quasi-judicial appointment that doesn’t necessarily require legal experience. The judge administers citizenship exams, adjudicates if an applicant meets all the citizenship requirements, and swears in the country’s new citizens at ceremonies. They make between $91,800 and $107,900 a year.
Brownstone said the impact of Gaynor’s conduct extends to criminal and civil judges who preside in courtrooms every day.
“To the average citizen, a judge is a judge is a judge,” he said. “Immigration judges are often our newest citizens’ first contact with the law. (Gaynor’s actions) give the impression that a Canadian judge can be bought.”
In his short address to the court before his sentence, Gaynor, holding back tears, said he was “deeply sorry” and wished he could go back and change what he did. After he read his sentence, Brownstone told Gaynor he still has a promising future ahead of him, and suggested he write a book about his own experience as an immigrant — having come to Canada from Ireland in 1963 — and seeing scores of new Canadians pass before him.
The RCMP launched its investigation in 2012 after a complaint from immigration officials. Among the evidence in the Crown’s case was a wiretap from a conversation Gaynor had with an undercover police officer, in which he admitted that he should not have been in possession of the exams.
A longtime resident of Durham Region, Gaynor was appointed a citizenship judge in 2006 by the Conservative government and reappointed to another three-year term in 2009.
The court heard he had been a volunteer on the election campaign of late federal finance minister Jim Flaherty and was a Toronto auxiliary police officer for 18 years. A Citizenship and Immigration Canada biography listed him as a former executive at the T. Eaton Co., Gordon Brothers and Premier Brand Foods.