Former town councillor sentenced for breaching a court order
A Drumheller woman who disobeyed a court order to keep her comments “civil and temperate” on social media has been fined nearly $4,000.
Cynthia Karen McKinnon, a former Drumheller town councillor, appeared in provincial court in Drumheller on Friday, May 13. She had previously been found guilty on December 18 of last year of breaching an order of the court.
McKinnon was charged in 2011 with defamatory libel for comments she had made on social media regarding a senior Town of Drumheller employee and the town’s legal council.
The charges were stayed in October of 2012, and McKinnon entered into a peace bond. The terms of the order included that her postings on social media be “civil and temperate.” She was charged with breaching this order.
At her trial in December of 2015, when McKinnon was given the opportunity to present her case, she called no evidence and was found guilty. Her appearance on May 13 was for sentencing.
Prosecutor R. Dhillon recommended a fine that equaled the amount of her peace bond of $3,000. He also recommended a probation order of 3-6, months. He told the court that a discharge would not be in the public’s interest. He also said her comments were bordering on contempt, she showed no remorse and that the $3,000 was what she bargained for when she entered a peace bond.
McKinnon argued for a discharge stating the only thing she was guilty of was being rude on the Internet, and equated the case to malicious prosecution.
In his decision, Judge L. Robertson emphasized the importance of obeying a court order, and said that McKinnon was not in court because she was rude on the Internet, but because she breached a court order. He also took into account two victim impact statements.
McKinnon was given a fine of $3,000 plus a $900 victim surcharge. No period of probation was ordered. Judge Robertson gave McKinnon until May 14, 2016, to pay the fine.
A failure to comply with conditions charge was withdrawn.
Karen McKinnon was fined $3,000 plus a victim surcharge of $900 for disobeying an order of the court. The former Drumheller councillor was charged with defamatory libel for comments made on social media in 2011.