Violation of the law on the protection of information | Former RCMP intelligence officer sentenced to 14 years in prison

(Ottawa) Former RCMP intelligence chief Cameron Jay Ortis was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in prison for violating Canada’s security of information law.

Ortis was found guilty in November following a trial where he pleaded not guilty to all charges, including breaching the Protection of Information Act by revealing classified information to three “individuals”. of interest” to the RCMP in 2015, and attempting to do so in a fourth instance.

Justice Robert Maranger of Ontario Superior Court in Ottawa said Wednesday that taking into account preventive detention, Ortis will have to serve another seven years and 155 days in prison.

Ortis, 51, led the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) operational research group, which collected classified information on cybercriminals, terrorist cells and transnational criminal networks.

Jurors in November found Ortis guilty of three counts of violating the Protection of Information Act and one count of attempting to do so. Each of these counts carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

The Crown in January sought consecutive maximum sentences for the first two counts of violating the law, for a total of 28 years in prison. She wanted the sentences to be served concurrently for the other two violations of the law.

The Crown therefore believed that a prison sentence of 22 to 25 years would be appropriate if the judge took into account the “totality principle”, which avoids “excessive” sentences.

The defense, meanwhile, argued for a sentence of seven years and two months – the time he should be credited since his arrest in September 2019, according to his lawyer.

Undetermined motive

During the trial of Cameron Jay Ortis, a picture emerged of an intense and shrewdly intelligent man – an avid runner who kept his private life to himself.

Ortis testified that he did not betray the RCMP. Instead, he says he offered secret material to investigative targets in an effort to trick them into using an online encryption service set up by an allied intelligence agency to spy on adversaries.

The Crown could not identify his motive, but argued that Ortis had no authority to release classified documents and was not doing so as part of a legitimate sting operation.

Crown prosecutor Judy Kliewer argued in January that Ortis deserved an exemplary sentence that will show the public and Canada’s international partners that the system designed to protect sensitive information “has teeth.”

Ortis was briefly released on bail after his arrest in late 2019, only to return to an Ottawa jail for more than three years. He was released on bail again, with strict conditions, in December 2022, pending his trial which took place last fall in Ottawa.

At his sentencing hearing in January, his attorney, Jon Doody, argued the unusual hardships Ortis endured in custody. He said Ortis spent years alone in pretrial detention, contracted COVID-19, and was repeatedly strip-searched and X-rayed during documentation sessions in his case at a secure facility. Offsite.


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