August 23, 2016 - 10:13 AM
MUST PAY FINE OF NEARLY $50,000
KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops businessperson who didn't send more than $65,000 in goods and services tax his company collected to the federal government will have to spend the next three months behind bars.
James Kennedy, 58, pleaded guilty in December 2010 to a charge of failure to make payment but fled the country before his sentencing hearing.
Kennedy appeared in Kamloops provincial court today, Aug. 23, representing himself.
Crown prosecutor Anthony Varesi asked Judge Roy Dickey to impose a fine of 75 per cent of the GST he owed, which is equivalent to $48,831.
Dickey agreed with the level of fine saying Kennedy's guilty plea didn't represent remorse since he fled to Vietnam for nearly six years.
Kennedy was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in May 2016 after his return from Asia.
His company James Kennedy Enterprises Ltd. collected $65,109 in GST between 1997 and 2006, and in 2008, but he blamed his "imbecile" accountant for the errors in keeping track of his money.
Kennedy had asked Dickey to spare him a jail sentence as it would hinder future job opportunities and lead to loss of income.
Along with the three month jail sentence, Kennedy must pay the fine of $48,831, but he doesn't have to pay back the GST he owes the federal government.
The sheriff placed Kennedy in handcuffs and took him to the cells in the courthouse as soon as Dickey handed down his decision.
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