Published:March 8, 2022
One-time fugitive Kevin J. Johnston was handed the equivalent of a 30-day jail term Tuesday for his ill-fated flight from Canadian justice in January.
Johnston, 50, pleaded guilty to being unlawfully at large for failing to show up to complete a weekends-only jail term after being convicted of contempt of court for ignoring orders he comply with COVID-19 restrictions.
Crown prosecutor Peter Mackenzie told provincial court Judge Harry Van Harten that Johnston was supposed to show up at the Calgary Correctional Centre on Dec. 24 to complete the final weekend of the 40-day sentence handed him by Justice Adam Germain.
Mackenzie said Johnston was arrested Jan. 4 after illegally crossing into the U.S. near the Montana/North Dakota border.
Both Mackenzie and Toronto defence lawyer Ian McCuaig, who appeared via video link, agreed a 30-day sentence was warranted.
But McCuaig argued the remand time Johnston served before he was granted bail, the equivalent of 17 days when given enhanced credit, coupled with his onerous bail conditions that were equivalent to house arrest, should result in a sentence of time served.
Mackenzie argued only Johnston’s jail time should be counted and Van Harten should order the former fringe mayoral candidate to serve another 13 days, but the judge agreed with McCuaig’s argument.
At one point Van Harten questioned Johnston on whether he’d been vaccinated and whether he should consider more jail time if he wasn’t, but after a brief adjournment and consultation between the offender and McCuaig, the judge didn’t pursue the issue further.
After Johnston’s Jan. 4 arrest, he issued a statement through his lawyer indicating he went to the U.S. because he was fleeing persecution by the Canadian government.
The same day Johnston was arrested in the U.S. he was supposed to appear at a Toronto courthouse to turn himself in to begin serving an 18-month sentence for contempt of court there.