Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Canadian Ex-Soldier Covers Up Past Court-Martial Convictions

Winnipeg Free Press reports that Paul Young, a former Canadian soldier, was sentenced to a suspended jail term for stealing C$32,000 from a Winnipeg community club, without any knowledge that he had been convicted in court-martial cases during his career. During the trial, Young was treated as a first-time offender, with a clean record; after the trial, he admitted to fraud and convictions for similar offenses that he received in the military.  The Free Press reports that it "uncovered new details about Paul Young's past that raise questions about the plea bargain he struck with justice officials."

A previous court-martial convicted him for selling Canadian Forces computers to pawn shops in the mid-2000s to raise money to cover his debts, along with a 2001 conviction and fine for “offenses of dishonesty.” Neither Young nor the Crown prosecutor brought up these prior offenses during the trial.
Young allegedly stole the money to fuel a gambling addiction, which he developed after returning from peacekeeping missions in Bosnia. Treatment he had been receiving from the military ended with his discharge in 2006 for medical reasons. He stated that it was “a daily struggle” to keep from gambling; this crime and others enabled him to continue.

Young must now pay restitution to the community club, as well as serve community service hours and adhere to a curfew.

(Credit: Richard Weiland)