Conditional Sentences are Judicial Cop-outs: A Degenerate Teacher and Judicial Timidity
A 1995 amendment to the Criminal Code gave judges an option to order that
a sentence of less than two years be “served in the community.”
Conditional sentences became instant grist for the plea bargaining mill;
manna for soft sentencing judges, aggravation to victims of crime and
disillusionment for police officers.
The current mumbo jumbo of our Supreme Court of Canada states that a
sentence of house arrest has the same quality of deprivation of freedom as
That proposition abuses common sense and the plain meaning of our
English language and ought to be viewed as a judicial cop-out.
On October 6, 2004 a degenerate 43-year-old West Vancouver high
school teacher, Timothy Foley, was sentenced to a year in jail for sexual
exploitation of one of his female students. The maximum sentence is five
Foley’s sentence was a conditional sentence.
The importance in our society of morally stable teachers cannot be over
emphasized. We need them as urgently as we need morally stable legislators
Maybe even more, when you consider that they instruct and mentor 14
to17 year-old fledging adults.
Foley’s abuse of the power and control he had over his students is an
aggravating factor in his criminal behavior that cannot be extenuated.
The criminal offence of sexual exploitation occurs when a person in a
position of trust and/or authority engages in purposeful sexual touching of a
14- to 17-year-old youth who is in a dependent relationship. It blankets the
teacher/student relationship. Sexual exploitation of teenagers, largely a
man’s game, is a singularly despicable act.
Foley could have gone off, bags of sex gear in hand, into the dark
recesses of privacy with consenting male or female adults and worked his
magic on them – but he chose to pursue his obsession in a most evil way.
In the public interest we must question the sentence meted out to Foley.
North Vancouver provincial court judge Judith Gedye decided that
Foley’s crime warranted only the paper bars of a conditional sentence.
By imposing an illusory jail sentence Judge Gedye freed herself from the
simple language of the Criminal Code that unequivocally requires a sentence
to be proportionate to the “gravity of the case and the degree of
responsibility of the offender.”
Gedye heard testimony from Foley’s victim that she was 15 years old
when her charming teacher got his hands on her and gave her protracted
private tutoring in sexual matters that included sadomasochistic techniques
involving pain. Foley left nothing to chance; his two duffel bags contained a
variety of exploitive aids: sex toys, gadgets, gag balls, flogs, paddles, rope
restraints and nipple clips.
He singled out a vulnerable 15-year-old girl and satisfied himself to the
He remains forever a two-faced tutor – a disgrace to the profession of
What is known about Foley must surely be only the tip of the iceberg.
Foley’s change of plea after hearing his victim testify and his later claim
of remorse are not mitigating factors.
That a sentence of one year of “house arrest” and two years’ probation is
in Foley’s best interest is beyond doubt – but it does nothing to make his
victim feel that justice was done.
She may well have been sacrificed in the social development of a
Why did Judge Gedye sentence Foley to house arrest for such a flagrant
breach of trust and authority? She must have pondered over the judiciary’s
duty, through jail sentences meted out, to denounce and deter in the clearest
terms the sexual exploitation of 14- to 17-year-old girls. Why not a sentence
of two to three years in the penitentiary?
All of us are acutely aware of the fall from grace of Provincial Court
Judge David Ramsay: he committed sexual assault causing bodily harm and
was jailed for seven years (the maximum sentence is 14 years). At Ramsey’s
sentencing Associate Chief Justice Judge Patrick Dohm said: “It is apparent
the accused used his office to solicit satisfaction of his perverted lusts and to
shield him from their consequences. … In our society judges are the trustees
of the administration of justice. One can hardly imagine a more infamous
breach of trust. The accused’s conduct was utterly reprehensible.”
In Canada the morality of teachers and inviolability of our children are
as essential as the good reputation of judges and the administration of
Foley, a degenerate teacher, ought to have been confronted with
implacability – not timidity.
Published in the North Shore News October 20,2004,