Halifax navy spy who sold secrets to Russia sentenced to 20 years
Published Friday, February 8, 2013 7:42AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 8, 2013 10:34PM EST
The Canadian navy officer who admitted to selling secret intelligence to Russia has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle, 41, showed little emotion as he was sentenced Friday to concurrent sentences for breach of trust and communicating information to a foreign entity that could harm Canada's interests.
The sentence is in line with what the Crown had asked for; Delisle's defence had asked for a sentence of nine to 10 years. After receiving credit for time already served, Delisle faces another 18 years and five months in prison. It's not yet clear when he would be eligible for parole.
Delisle will also be fined $111,817 -- the amount he collected from his Russian bosses over nearly five years of spying.
Justice Patrick Curran said in sentence that he had trouble believing Delisle was motivated by heartbreak over the dissolution of his marriage when he committed his crimes, pointing out that the naval officer was totally responsible for his own actions.
At his sentencing hearing earlier this month, Delisle apologized for betraying his country, and asked for the forgiveness of his children and parents. "If I could go back in time I would, but I can't," he said at the time.
Delisle, according to his lawyer, is shocked by the ruling.
But for Crown attorney Lyne Decarie the sentence is just and could deter others from similar crimes.
Delisle was arrested in January 2012 following a lengthy investigation and accused of passing secrets to Russian agents for close to five years between 2007 and 2011.
He was paid nearly $72,000 for the information he gave. He also received $40,000 when he visited a Russian named Victor in Brazil in 2011, just before he became the target of an investigation that led to his arrest.
Delisle became the first person to be charged under the Security of Information Act, which was passed into law following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Court heard that while working at HMCS Trinity in Halifax, Delisle mined government computers for references to Russia and transferred the data onto floppy disks and memory sticks. He then copied the information into an email account he shared with a Russian agent.
After Delisle’s arrest, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the leaks did not damage Canada’s relations with its allies. But Brig.-Gen. Rob Williams, director general of military signals intelligence, testified at the sentencing hearing that Delisle caused "exceptionally grave damage."
Sentence acts as deterrent: analyst
Former CSIS official and security consultant Michel Juneau-Katsuya says the fact that Delisle pleaded guilty and co-operated with the investigation likely helped spare him from a life sentence. But he says the judge needed the sentence to serve as a deterrent for others considering similar actions.
"The court wanted to send a message that this was a very serious offence, that it was very damaging what he did for a handful of money and that's why they handed the sentence they did," he told CTV News Channel following the sentencing.