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Letter: Kathryn Smitthen clarifies payments

|Written By Kathryn Smithen

Your editorial in the June 6 edition of Law Times (see “In praise of second chances”) does not, in my view, provide a complete and full picture of what occurred in relation to the 2010 motion in the Superior Court of Justice surrounding the compensation order imposed on me in my criminal matters in May 1993.

I ask you to print this letter so that your readers are provided with a full and complete accounting of the situation.

The 2010 motion was of two parts: a motion in the nature of certiorari or, in the alternative, a motion in the nature of mandamus.

The first part dealt with the fact that I believed that I had been denied the principles of natural justice by not being heard at the time the sentence was imposed on the issue of whether a compensation order should be imposed in the first place, which is something that the case law at the time I was sentenced and since says is critical and required.

The second part dealt with compelling the court clerk to accept my compensation payments that the clerk had refused to do prior to the motion.

This motion became necessary because for six months, my efforts to resolve the issue (at least as far as the clerk accepting payments was concerned) with the director of Crown operations and the Toronto Police Service were unresolved.

No one in any official capacity would assist me in setting up a plan so that I could make regular compensation payments.

It was not until the motion was brought that I learned that the Crown in 1993 had not informed the victims of their entitlement under a compensation order. Hence, it was never registered with the court clerk.

While the court denied both parts of my motion — because it was not convinced of my argument with regard to the denial of natural justice and due to the fact that as the compensation order had not been registered by the victims, there was no duty to accept payments — the court did in fact ask the Crown and police to co-operate with me in the future to ensure that payments that I wanted to make were forwarded to the victims of my offences.

Since that time, $15,011 in payments have been received by the victims. The outstanding amount of approximately $22,200 is owed to one financial institution. I will continue to make payments to that bank until all my obligations are satisfied.

This is information that Law Times editor Glenn Kauth has confirmed now through copies of drafts that I have faxed to him and letters from the Crown. It was through the co-operation of my admission proceedings counsel and the Crown’s office that these payments were facilitated after the motion was concluded.

I feel that making this clarification on the record is necessary because your editorial leaves the impression that compensating the victims of my 1993 offences was a very low priority to me and that my primary concern in bringing the motion was to evade the consequences of my past conduct and secure a pardon.

This is not accurate. The motion brought these issues to light and provided the encouragement to previously reluctant officials to assist me in getting compensation to the victims.

Making things right with the victims as well as qualifying to apply for a pardon have been of equal concern to me during my lifetime.

While I did not have the means before to compensate my victims, I have followed through with my obligations since that has changed.

The panel hearing my matter at the Law Society of Upper Canada was aware of this fact, and an acknowledgment of my $15,011 in payments was included in an agreed statement of facts at the good character hearing.

Getting a pardon has not been just about improving my employability in spite of what has been written about me. It has been about coming full circle in my life and having society recognize the enormous strides that I have made to change my behaviour in a permanent way that is acknowledged officially.

To try to suggest that trying to achieve that goal through legitimate means demonstrates a lack of remorse on my part for my past conduct is most unfair.

Kathryn Smithen,
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