'Fallen' Svend spared jail time
HUMILIATION WAS ENOUGH: JUDGE
Sat, August 7, 2004
SVEND ROBINSON, the veteran MP who stole a diamond ring and unravelled a 25-year career, avoided jail time or a criminal conviction after pleading guilty to the offence in a Vancouver court yesterday. Robinson has suffered intense humiliation, has been shamed out of public office and Justice Ron Fratkin said that's punishment enough.
"In Canada, we don't kick people when they're down," he said, giving Robinson a conditional discharge and sentencing him to 100 hours of community service.
FALL FROM GRACE
Robinson "has fallen far further than most, all for a bauble, a trinket, a ring," said Fratkin, noting Robinson had been sliding towards a breakdown.
Noted Canadians, including environmentalist David Suzuki, UN envoy Stephen Lewis and deputy Tory leader Peter MacKay wrote letters asking the judge not to torture Robinson further.
Robinson said he cracked after a visit with his sister, who has multiple sclerosis.
Emotionally unstable, he went to a public auction over the Easter long weekend, according to an agreed statement of facts read in court.
SHOPPING FOR PARTNER
Robinson, who earned an MP's base salary of $141,000, had earlier gone shopping for a diamond ring for his partner, Max Riveron.
The rings at the auction were priced at more than $50,000. Robinson asked to see three diamond rings.
"He put two back and surreptitiously put one in his jacket pocket," special prosecutor Len Doust read. "He was very calm and very cool. He knew exactly what he was doing. Then he gets rid of it, he hides the ring in his car and locks it."
Robinson went back inside and browsed for another half hour before departing.
That weekend, Robinson was wracking his brain, trying to come up with a way to return the ring anonymously, Doust said. "He chose to turn himself in just before the RCMP caught up with him," Doust said.
The Honourable RON FRATKIN
OTTAWA MEN'S CENTRE
CANADIAN JUDGES DIRECTORY