Graham James sentenced to 2 years for sex assaults
Published Tuesday, March 20, 2012 9:23PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:48AM EDT
A former coach characterized as the "most hated man in hockey" has been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually abusing two of his players.
Graham James was asked to stand in the prisoner box of a Winnipeg courtroom as Justice Catherine Carlson delivered her decision on Tuesday.
After sentencing, a spectator in the courtroom spat out an expletive as James shook his lawyer's hand and was led away in handcuffs and taken into custody.
"There is no sentence this court can impose which the victims and indeed the public will find satisfactory," Judge Carlson told the packed courtroom.
James pleaded guilty in December to repeatedly assaulting former NHL player Theo Fleury and Fleury's cousin Todd Holt in the 1980s and 1990s when they played for him in the Western Hockey League.
Carlson ordered that James have no contact with either Fleury or Holt.
Charges involving a third player, Greg Gilhooly, have been stayed as part of a plea deal with the Crown.
For more than a year, James has been quietly living and working in Montreal, out on bail under the condition he doesn't contact any victims or accusers, among other orders.
His lawyer Evan Roitenberg had earlier argued that James was rehabilitated and asked for a conditional sentence of 12 to 18 months. The Crown had asserted that James was at a high risk to reoffend and urged the judge to consider a six-year jail term.
Judge Carlson said the court was tasked with weighing the severity of the charges with the amount of time that has passed since James committed the offences.
Fleury slammed the sentence as too lenient and later said on Twitter that the Harper government should take decisive action.