Former housing official bailed following sentence
The former deputy chairman and director of the National Housing Development Trust was sentenced to six months in prison on Friday.
Justice Alexander Henderson sentenced Edlin MacArthur Myles, 62, to six months’ imprisonment with a compensation order to repay the $630 he had accepted from housing applicants, or face an additional 30 days imprisonment.
Myles did not begin to serve his sentence on Friday as, following his sentencing, his lawyer successfully secured bail for his client from another judge pending an appeal of the conviction and sentence.
Justice Henderson said Myles had performed a “breach of trust” and said the “principal of deterrent is paramount.”
A jury of six women and one man found Myles guilty on seven charges, including four counts of obtaining property by deception and three counts of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception.
The court heard Myles had used his position on the board to obtain personal information about housing applicants, whom he then contacted to sell housing insurance that was not needed at the time.
Justice Henderson said individuals had placed a high degree of trust in Myles because of his role and may have felt their housing application would have suffered had they not purchased insurance through him.
He said people on government boards and committees were called upon to make significant decisions in people’s lives but “must avoid conflicts of interest and abide by the codes of conduct.”
Justice Henderson expressed a “paramount concern” that a community-based punishment, as suggested by defense attorney Ben Tonner, would not act as a sufficient deterrent for others in similar roles.
“A noncustodial sentence would not reflect the seriousness in which [the court views] an abuse of public trust,” the judge said.
Justice Henderson drew from U.K. guidelines that state although the sum of money received was below 2,000 pounds (CI$2,792), a higher prison sentence would be imposed if the offense involved a breach of a high degree of trust.
Mr. Tonner argued the crown gave no explanation as to why Myles would ruin his good character for a few hundred dollars and said a community-based punishment would be sufficient. He said Myles had already lost his career and his ability to work back in the insurance industry.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Trevor Ward argued Myles had used his position of authority to commit a high breach of trust.