Former Nova Scotia politician Trevor Zinck gets four months in jail

HALIFAX – A former Nova Scotia politician has been sentenced to four months in jail and 12 months of probation for defrauding the provincial government.

Trevor Zinck pleaded guilty in June to fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust for accepting about $9,000 from the Speaker’s Office to cover constituency expenses in 2008 and 2009, even though he didn’t pay those owed money.

Zinck apologized in court to his constituents and the people of the province, but judge Glen McDougall said Zinck knew what he was doing.

At a hearing last week in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, defence lawyer Lyle Howe submitted a brief that argued his client did not wilfully commit fraud.

It also says Zinck followed the rules and procedures of the legislature, but there was a lack of oversight in his office.

The Crown told the court that if it accepted the defence argument, it would lower Zinck’s level of culpability.

Zinck, who sat as an Independent, initially refused to quit politics following his guilty plea, but resigned after the Speaker announced the legislature would be recalled to deal with his possible expulsion.

In his apology, Zinck said people who don’t know him “have the right to hold me in disdain.”

MacDougall said Zinck “was fully aware of what he was doing.”

“It was a blatant attempt to defraud the taxpayers of this province.”

Three other former politicians have also pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges that stemmed from a 2010 investigation by the province’s auditor general into constituency allowance spending.

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