· CBC News
The charges connecting Chrisopher Casola to criminal biker gangs were dropped by the Crown, but his ties to organized crime were the focus of his sentencing hearing in Sudbury court Monday morning.
The 48-year-old was sentenced to 30 months in prison for breach of trust and two weapons offences.
He was arrested in 2016 after it was discovered that two years earlier he was using his job at the Canada Revenue Agency to access the personal information of members of the Hell’s Angels, as well as police officers, including one whose job was investigating biker gangs.
Casola was originally facing 11 charges, including committing a crime for the benefit of a criminal organization, but he pleaded guilty to only three of them in October, just before his jury trial was about to begin.
“This is one of those situations where context is everything,” Assistant Crown attorney Marc Huneault told the court Monday.
He said that while the court was not officially considering Casola’s involvement with organized crime, that fact “very much illuminates” the 30 month sentence recommended by both the Crown and defence.
“Although the motive is personal in terms in of why he did the searches, the inescapable inference is that those searches were tied” to his involvement in outlaw motorcycle clubs, Huneault said.
The prosecutor also told the court that Casola had been a member of the Red Devils club in Sudbury, when it decided to switch from a “riding club” to a criminal “1 per cent” club.
The court heard that the local chapter of the Red Devils “patched over” and became the Bacchus Motorcycle Club and had just become affiliated with the Outlaw biker gang, when Casola was arrested.
Huneault told the court that Casola claims he never showed the information he illegally accessed with anyone else, but Huneault did note that two of the files were uploaded to Casola’s cellphone.
Casola’s lawyer Michael Quigley directed Justice Robbie Gordon to letters written by Casola’s daughter and girlfriend showing “another side” to him.
“The fact that Mr. Casola has taken responsibility… does show a sign of remorse. Clearly he is not wasting the court’s time,” Quigley said.
The court heard that after 16 years working at the Canada Revenue Agency, Casola has had difficulty finding work while out on bail since he was charged two and a half years ago.
“You reap what you sow,” Justice Gordon told him.
The judge called the details of the case “very concerning.”
“It’s probably fortunate that it happened when it did, before you got any deeper,” Gordon told Casola.
“You might be facing much more series consequences both inside and outside the court.”
Along with the jail term and a 10 year ban from owning guns, Gordon also ordered that the firearms and ammunition seized at Casola’s residence, along with a “large amount” of biker gang paraphernalia including vests and patches become public property and not returned to him.
After the hearing adjourned, Casola was handcuffed by police in the courtroom and taken away.
Source CBC News