Former Canadian Conservative Member of Parliament Dean Del Mastro has been sentenced to one month in prison and then four more under house arrest after he was found guilty of overspending during the 2008 federal election.
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Del Mastro was a former parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The sentence was handed down by Justice Lisa Cameron in Lindsay, Ontario on June 25. Del Mastro was accused of exceeding the campaign spending limits. Among the accusations are that he failed to report a personal contribution of $21,000 to his campaign and that he knowingly submitted a falsified document.Cameron described the offences as an affront to the principles of Canadian democracy and said: "This type of cheating and lying will result in serious sanctions. … Custody is required to reflect the need for denunciation and deterrence." Cameron claimed that Del Mastro was not only prepared to break the rules but to be deceitful about doing so. Del Mastro has maintained he is innocent and has not been apologetic about his actions. Cameron refused a defence request that Del Mastro be able to serve his term intermittently. After the sentencing Del Mastro was led away in handcuffs and shackles. He was taken to a jail in nearby Lindsay. His wife was in tears as he left.Del Mastro will be required to pay $10,000 to the Peterborough Electoral District Assoc. and also spend 18 months on probation. He cannot run for office for five years. Del Mastro has appealed the decision and is expected to apply to be released on bail at a hearing on Friday pending the outcome of his appealAlso accused with Del Mastro was Richard McCarthy. McCarthy was the official agent of the Del Mastro campaign in Peterborough. Justice Cameron noted that McCarthy could have prevented Del Mastro's overspending if he had done his job better. He was also found guilty of exceeding the mandated spending limit. While an MP, Del Mastro often had the job of defending the Conservatives against allegations of electoral fraud.