A Labrador driving examiner who was busted by undercover police for taking a bribe will avoid jail time.
Scott Norman was sentenced Thursday in provincial court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to five months' house arrest. He will also have to serve two years' probation after that.
Norman, who had worked for the provincial government for nine years, had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching the public's trust stemming back to an incident in June 2019.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Norman had asked the driver, who was an undercover RCMP officer, if he wanted to pass the exam. The driver said yes and Norman took $240 from him.
When questioned by police, Norman said the $240 in his pocket belonged to him. Unbeknownst to him, police had already matched the serial numbers on the money to the ones they provided the undercover operator.
The information laid out in an agreed statement of facts suggests it wasn't the first time Norman solicited a bribe.
In August 2018, RCMP received an anonymous tip that Norman may have been taking advantage of new Canadians by offering a passing mark on the road test if Norman was given money.
During the undercover sting, the driver asked Norman if he had done it before, to which he replied he had. Later in the conversation, which was taped, the driver asked if Norman could also help his friends. He said yes, and gave him his business card with his cellphone number on it.
Norman's defence lawyer had asked for five months of house arrest. However, the Crown argued Norman should get three to five months in jail.
In his decision, Judge Rolf Pritchard said Norman is remorseful and considered a low risk to reoffend, and has no previous criminal convictions.
He said Norman was terminated from his job at Service NL as a result of the allegations and was laid off from a job at a group home.
Pritchard cited the fact that Norman told the court it was a "dark period for the family" where they didn't go out in public, faced financial difficulty, and Norman's daughters learned about his criminal activities through social media.
"The matter has been well publicized, and the offender's family and the offender have had to endure this, and perhaps in the case of the offender, deservedly so," Pritchard said Thursday.
He added that a jail sentence would further victimize Norman's family and current employer. The judge also noted that Norman's current employer said he is a valued employee.
"Serving a sentence in the community, the offender will be in the public and as stated in parole, this may indeed be harder than being able to hide away at the Labrador Correctional Centre," Pritchard said.
Crown attorney Brandon Gillespie said in a statement the sentence is not what the Crown requested, but the Crown respects the decision issued by the court.
"We are satisfied that the sentence adequately addresses the purposes and principles of sentencing as outlined in the Criminal Code."