Mug shot of disgraced coach Graham James surfaces
In a photo acquired by the Winnipeg Free Press, Graham James is seen in a Stony Mountain Institution mug shot in Stony Mountain, Man., on Thursday, March 22, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Winnipeg Free Press)
Published Saturday, March 24, 2012 1:58PM EDT
Canadians have been offered a look at disgraced former hockey coach Graham James, who has managed to evade cameras throughout his most recent sexual assault trial.
A mug shot reportedly belonging to James, once characterized as the "most hated man in hockey," has been posted online by the Winnipeg Free Press.
The medium close-up photo shows James wearing a black blazer over a purple button-up shirt, which appears to be the same outfit he was wearing last Tuesday, when he was sentenced to two years in prison for sexually abusing two of his former players.
The photo, reportedly taken at the Stony Mountain Institution Thursday, reveals a version of James that is noticeably slimmer than the man who coached for the Western Hockey League in the 1980s and 1990s. He is standing against a white backdrop, staring blankly into the camera.
Prison mug shots aren't typically released by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), unless there are special circumstances, such as authorities searching for a fugitive.
A spokesperson for Stony Mountain told CTVNews.ca that the James photo was not released through "official channels," and that authorities plan to look into who may have leaked the mug shot.
Until now, court sketches have been the only recent public record of the 59-year-old's appearance. James has managed to avoid being fully photographed throughout the trial involving former NHL player Theo Fleury and Fleury's cousin Todd Holt.
On the day of his sentencing, James obscured the lower part of his face with a red ski mask as he arrived at a Winnipeg courtroom. That decision drew the ire of many who demanded to know what the notorious sex offender now looks like.
Privacy for both James and his victims has been the subject of persistent debate throughout his trial.
A media consortium made up of CTV, CBC, Global and the Winnipeg Free Press had requested to broadcast James' sentencing using cameras in the courtroom, but Justice Catherine Carlson struck the application down.
The media outlets had argued that the public had a right to see James' face, whereas Judge Carlson ruled that broadcasting the sentencing would sensationalize the case.
In her decision, Carlson added that having cameras present in the courtroom could deter future victims of sexual abuse from coming forward.
Defence lawyer Evan Roitenberg has also raised concerns about James' safety, saying he has been the target of numerous death threats.