Vernon lawyer will spend more time behind bars
By Charlotte Helston
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November 20, 2013 - 1:19 PM
VERNON - A Vernon lawyer who fed information to a violent and notorious gang known as The Greeks will spend more time behind bars than he was initially sentenced to.
The B.C. Court of Appeal ruled Monday to accept the Crown’s appeal and increase William Mastop’s jail term to two and a half years, up from the one year he was handed last spring. Supreme Court Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein said the trial judge had erred by failing to focus on the “egregious nature” of Mastop’s actions.
“Mr. Mastop was well-positioned to be the eyes and ears of the criminal organization, and to use his influence as a criminal lawyer to gather information and documents from the police and the Crown about potential threats to the criminal organization,” Stromberg-Stein said in her court of appeal decision.
Stromberg-Stein said a higher sentence was justified because Mastop’s lengthy involvement with the gang showed he was “not a naive or unwitting pawn.” She said he abused his position as a lawyer to pass on information not otherwise available to the criminal organization.
“The sentence of one year is demonstrably unfit as it does not recognize the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender,” Stromberg-Stein said.
Mastop pleaded guilty to his involvement with The Greeks earlier this year, and hasn’t practised law since his arrest in 2010. He’s expected to face further disciplinary action from the Law Society of B.C.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
This story was updated at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 18 to include Supreme Court Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein's court of appeal decision.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013