Ex-mayor's conviction upheld
The BC Court of Appeal has upheld the fraud conviction of former Coquitlam mayor Jon Kingsbury.
He was convicted last year of forgery, impersonation with the intent to gain advantage and fraud over $5,000, for which he received a suspended sentence and two years probation. Kingsbury was also ordered to do 150 hours of community service and pay a $300 victim surcharge.
In 2007 Kingsbury agreed to invest in Jean Aussant's business for $450,000. The Aussants, expecting the windfall within a couple of months, traded in their old trailer for a new one.
When the business deal was delayed Kingsbury provided Aussant with the balance due on the trailer: $24,035. Kingsbury considered the money a loan, while Aussant assumed it was an advance for the purchase of a share in his business.
By the spring of 2008 the business deal, and the relationship between Kingsbury and Aussant, had soured, and Kingsbury brought a civil action against Aussant requesting repayment of the loan.
In August 2008 Kingsbury took the trailer from the shop where it was being serviced by claiming to be Aussant and forging his signature.
The trial judge found Kingsbury had an honest but mistaken belief that he had a proprietary interest in the trailer but the means with which he obtained it were "by deceit, falsehood and fraud."
In his appeal, Kingsbury argued that his honest belief that he owned the trailer meant he didn't have the necessary criminal intent to have committed fraud.
The B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed the argument, however, stating Kingsbury's actions stemmed from a mistake about his legal entitlement to seize the trailer, not from any mistake about the facts underlying that entitlement.
Kingsbury knew his actions put Aussant's economic interest at risk and is "guilty whether he actually intended the consequences or was reckless as to whether they would occur."
Kingsbury was mayor of Coquitlam from 1998 to 2005.