Man who fled to keep away from paying little one help given 4½-year sentence
A Nova Scotia man who fled for five years to avoid paying about $ 500,000 in child support was sentenced Tuesday to 4½ years in prison for disobeying the court and has to pay what his ex-wife owes .
In delivering the verdict, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Jollimore said Joseph Patrick Power took no responsibility and is blaming his ex-spouse.
“I don’t have to use adjectives like ‘shameful’, ‘outrageous’ or ‘flagrant’ to describe Mr. Power’s behavior,” said Jollimore in her decision.
“The most boring description of his actions does not obscure the depth of his disregard for the court and his children.”
Arrested in Montreal last month
Multiple court disregard warrants have been sought, both for failing to attend court and failing to pay child support payments in 2014.
He was arrested in Montreal last month and returned to Nova Scotia to be sentenced.
Angela Power says she is deeply relieved after her ex-husband was convicted. (CBC)
His ex-wife Angela Power said Tuesday she was deeply relieved by the outcome.
“For the longest time it has been my biggest dream and goal to pay for my children’s post-secondary education. And I really hope I can do that for them soon,” she said.
It was a long struggle to get to that point. She had to work three jobs to support her children alone and lost her home while raising $ 50,000 in legal fees to collect what her ex-husband owed.
More than $ 490,000 plus interest
Her lawyer, Igor Yushchenko, said Joseph Power could be released early if he pays what he owes in full. That amount comes in at just over $ 490,000 in child support plus interest, he said.
Court records show that Power, a veteran IT security consultant, billed clients up to $ 20,000 a month.
From 2007 to 2013, he did not pay child benefit of $ 171,786. The court ordered him to pay that amount in full plus $ 3,242 per month.
Instead, he ran to Denmark and then to Montreal to evade his obligations.
His attorney Brian Bailey told a hearing Monday that Power was broke and unable to pay what he owed.
The judge questions Power’s apology
Power also tearfully apologized, but Jollimore said key parts were missing.
“There was no evidence that Joseph Power ever expressed regrets until yesterday afternoon – after spending a month in jail,” she said in her decision.
“Mr. Power’s remorse is genuine. But it’s not clear that his remorse is for defying the court order.”
Jollimore also doubted claims that the power was broke. She said Power moved his financial affairs offshore while facing a maintenance warrant.
Worse than Vrege Armoyan
Jollimore said the contempt of the trial of Halifax businessman Vrege Armoyan was the only “contemporary yardstick” she could apply to the case.
Aymoyan was sentenced to four years in prison for failing to make support payments in his high profile divorce.
“Differences between Mr. Power’s behavior and Mr. Armoyan’s behavior show that Mr. Power’s behavior is worse,” said Jollimore.
Armoyan was in contempt for 11 days while Power was in contempt for 64 months.
Armoyan also made payments a third of what the court ordered, while Power paid less than four percent.
No fines were imposed
Angela Power had asked the court for fines and interest that would add more than $ 400,000 to what Joseph Power already owes.
Jollimore declined to order them, saying they were “disproportionate” and “would not increase the force of detention”.
Yushchenko said the issue of fines and interest could resume if Joseph Power appeals.
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