Former city employee Grant Sanborn received a conditional sentence Thursday for using a forged document to make a client in his private consulting business believe he had made an application to the Agricultural Land Commission for a homesite severance as promised.
Provincial court Judge Roy Couper Dickey said he found no public benefit in a harsher sentence, and no benefit to Sanborn in terms of deterrence or rehabilitation.
“(It is) not necessary to enter a conviction to deter him or rehabilitate him,” Dickey said.
Sanborn, 52, has no criminal record. The conditional discharge means he will have no criminal record, if he meets probation terms and other conditions.
The judge said the forgery was “dramatically out of character” for Sanborn, who had also served as chairman of the Cultus Lake Park Board, and volunteered his time with community organizations like the Rotary Club, Tourism Chilliwack, Community Futures and the YMCA.
Dickey also noted that Sanborn did not profit from the forgery, whose only purpose was to “placate” a client, and give him additional time to make the application as promised.
“His only benefit was to retain the client,” Dickey said.
However, Dickey said he took issue with defence counsel’s characterization of the forgery as a relatively minor infraction that would normally go before a professional body for disciplinary action.
“The action of Mr. Sanborn was illegal and an offence under the criminal code of Canada,” Dickey said.
Sanborn’s potential loss of income and his “tarnished” reputation as a result of the charge should satisfy the public demand for justice, the judge said.
Sanborn was also sentenced to one year on probation, 30 hours of community service work and a court order to write a letter of apology to the client.
Crown counsel had asked for a fine and suspended sentence in light of Sanborn’s business specialty is properties within the Agricultural Land Reserve.
Sanborn was hired by the client in September, 2006 to make an application to the Agricultural Land Commission for a homesite severance.
Over the next year the client made repeated requests for an update on the application, and on February 20 Sanborn produced a letter purportedly on ALC letterhead to indicate that he had made the application.
However, no such letter was issued by the ALC.
Sanborn’s defence counsel explained the forgery a result of “overwork” at the busy consulting business, and the “significant” hours he was spending on park board matters.
Dickey said that was “an explanation, but not a defence.”
“The use of this forged document was a criminal offence,” he said.