Charitable donation gets businessman out of john record

By Sue Yanagisawa
Local News - Monday, August 23, 2004 @ 07:00

A local businessman caught in one of the Kingston Police department’s ‘john sweeps’ has escaped being saddled with a criminal record, but it will cost him $500.

Paulos Tsinardis, 40, was charged last June with communicating for the purpose of prostitution after he approached an undercover police officer at Montreal and North streets and offered her $200 for sex.

Tsinardis pleaded guilty to the charge in Kingston’s Ontario Court of Justice last week and Mr. Justice R.G. Masse appeared on the verge of imposing the usual fine – around $250 – when defence lawyer Dave Sinnett pitched an alternative proposition.

In return for a discharge, which leaves Tsinardis with no record of conviction, the defence lawyer told the judge his client was prepared to make a $500 charitable donation.

Assistant Crown attorney Gerard Laarhuis had told the court the police john sweep was conducted in response to residents in the area complaining about the problems associated with prostitutes using their Montreal Street neighbourhood, north of Princess Street, as a stroll to conduct business.

Police periodically use undercover officers as bait to arrest a sampling of the prostitutes’ prospective customers, hoping that fear of discovery will drive the rest away for a while.

Laarhuis opposed the defence recommendation and told the court “standard practice is a fine. That is the status quo.”

He said he saw no reason to diverge from that practice in Tsinardis’s case.

Sinnett told the court that his client was willing to pay but wanted to avoid the complications of a criminal record. And Masse, whose enthusiasm for charity and community service is well known in the legal community, was obviously interested.

He suggested to Sinnett that the donation should go to an organization involved in work with some relevance to the crime for which Tsinardis was charged, such as Interval House.

He then granted Tsinardis a discharge, conditional upon his successfully completing three months of probation and delivering proof of his $500 charitable donation to the courthouse.