By Colin Perkel, THE CANADIAN PRESS
PETERBOROUGH, Ontario: Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro has been ordered released on $5,000 bail one day after his conviction for “cheating” during his 2008 re-election campaign.
Del Mastro had applied for bail while he appeals his convictions for three electoral offences: overspending, failing to report a contribution he made to his campaign, and filing a false report.
After spending the night in jail, Del Mastro arrived Friday morning at the courthouse in handcuffs in a police cruiser.
“It’s a great day to be in Peterborough,” he said.
A day earlier, he appeared stunned when the judge handed him a month-long jail term. The judge said he deserved prison for what she called his “affront” to democracy.
Del Mastro used to speak for Prime Minister Stephen Harper against electoral-fraud allegations levelled at the Conservatives.
His lawyer, Leo Adler, said the appeal would be based on “substantial errors” made by the trial judge.
In a scathing sentencing decision, Superior Court Justice Lisa Cameron accused the former Peterborough MP of “cheating and lying.”
“He was prepared not only to break the rules but to be deceitful about it,” Cameron said.
In addition to the jail term, Cameron also slapped him with four months house arrest, ordered him to pay $10,000 to his electoral district, and put him on probation for 18 months.
He is also barred from running again for the House of Commons for five years.
Following sentencing, a shackled Del Mastro, 44, was transferred to a jail in Lindsay, Ont.
Adler said the sentence stunned his client.
“It’s a shock to anybody who has gone through their life without a single criminal blemish to all of a sudden be told that you have to go to jail,” Adler said outside court.
Prosecutor Tom Lemon said Del Mastro deserved to go to jail and justice had been served.
Del Mastro’s elections agent, accountant Richard McCarthy, 68, was given a two-month conditional sentence plus one year of probation for his role.
© 2015 The Canadian Press