Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A CONDITIONAL SENTENCE FOR MONEY LAUNDERING ? GET REAL, YOUR HONOUR


A judge in British Colombia has sentenced Robinderpal "Robin" Rathor, a corrections officer who also ran two currency exchange outlets, to a Conditional Sentence of two years, minus one day *. Two special conditions, that he is confined to his residence from 10 PM to 6 AM the first year, and that he perform 100 hours of community service, were imposed. Cash was also seized by Canadian law enforcement.

 Rathor, whom pled guilt to Laundering the Proceeds of Crime, was caught in a sting operation run by undercover officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), who posed as marijuana and cocaine dealers who needed to convert their US Dollars into Canadian notes. American customers generally pay Canadian narcotics traffickers in American currency, which the criminal must then exchange for Canadian. Rathor exchanged US$560,000 .

The sentence is basically the functional equivalent of probation or parole; so long as Rathor satisfies the conditions of his sentence, he avoids incarceration completely. Is this sufficient deterrence, to keep other Canadians who might be tempted to make some fast money by laundering drug proceeds ? I doubt it,.

The function of sentencing, in my personal experience, is:
(1) To deter others from committing the same offence.
(2) To protect society from individuals who have demonstrated their willingness to commit the offence.
(3) To incapacitate the offender, taking him out of society, so that he cannot continue his criminal activities.
(4) To demonstrate to the public the seriousness of the crime.

How does a non-custodial sentence, that does not involve jail or prison time, satisfy those requirements ? An aggravating factor here is that the defendant was himself a part of the criminal justice system. I fully understand that Canada, to reduce the number of individual incarcerated, has Conditional Release, but in light of the seriousness of the crime, I do not believe that it should have been imposed here, lest others be tempted by what was, in my humble opinion, a slap on the wrist.

Was justice served ? I will let you be the judge.
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* It appears that a Conditional Sentence, under Canadian law, is generally imposed for property crimes, and must be less than two years.

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