Ex-Nova Scotia politician apologizes in court
HALIFAX - A former Nova Scotia politician who defrauded the provincial government apologized today to his former constituents and the people of the province at his sentencing hearing.
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.
He told the court that people who don't know him have the right to hold him in "disdain."
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 accepts the defence argument, it lowers 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.
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.