Judge Danyliuk delivered Clarence Stone’s sentence in Regina recently, giving him a one-year conditional sentence and 200 hours of community service.
Stone had served as Chief of Mosquito First Nation for a total of 16 years between 1992 and 2011. He was accused of Treaty Land Entitlement fraud after taking $22,900 illegitimately from the TLE trust fund in 2002. Four others from Mosquito have also been accused, with one dying before his charges could be dealt with and another still in court. The other two accused, Moosomin and Starchief, received $146,000 and $136,000 from the TLE funds. Of the total of $1.77 million given to the reserve for TLE money in 2002, only about $343,000 was spent on land purchases.
In considering aggravating factors, Judge Danyliuk focused on the breach of trust implied in the crime, stating that “every member of the Mosquito First Nation had been harmed by the acts of Stone, and that the TLE system’s integrity was also damaged by his actions.
Considering mitigating factors, Judge Danyliuk focused on Stone’s lesser degree of culpability. Unlike Moosoomin and Starchief, Stone had “simply accepted the money when it came to him,” and had repaid the full amount that he had stolen into court. Judge Danyliuk also stated that there was “no doubt [Stone had] a solid record of public service” that resulted in social and economic improvements for the reserve, but that this was not a “compelling” factor.
Judge Danyliuk further ruled that jail would be an unduly harsh sentence, and probation was not a valid sentencing option. A conditional sentence was chosen because Stone was not considered to be a danger to the public, had displayed remorse through his words and his actions, and because a conditional sentence ”where an accused must take responsibility for his own actions, make reparations to the community and continue to face those he has harmed” could be equally or more onerous than a jail term.
Judge Danyliuk did not mince words in his sentencing, however, calling Stone’s fraud “the modern-day equivalent of a betrayal for 30 pieces of silver,” and stating that he and the others in the fraud case had “set [their] people’s progress back decades, if it can ever be recovered.”
Explaining his choice of a conditional sentence, Judge Danyliuk was equally harsh. “Living in your community, with your shame branded upon you like a scarlet letter, will serve to denounce your crime and defer others from doing the same thing.”