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Ex-civil servant knew he was deceiving employer, court told

Jan 14 2012

Former B.C. government employee Richard Wainwright knew he was deceiving the province by forging a criminal record check to get his job, the Crown alleged in the closing arguments of his fraud trial.

"He was well aware that a new name did not make him a different person," prosecutor Marian Brown argued in recently filed closing submissions to a provincial court judge.

"It was deceitful to represent himself as not having any criminal record," Brown wrote.

"Given the wording of his letter of appointment, the accused must have known that submitting a deceptive, 'clear' [criminal record] form could have deprived [the B.C. government] by inducing it to pay salary to someone who would not have been hired had his criminal record been known."

Wainwright is charged with forging an RCMP criminal record check form in 2006 under the surname Perran and defrauding the government by using it to gain employment.

His trial began in October and ended in December, due to delays. The judge asked for final arguments to be submitted in writing.

Wainwright was fired in 2008 as a supervisor in the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The Wainwright case was a major embarrassment for the Liberal government at the time and led to changes in the criminal record check process for civil servants.

Provincial court judge Loretta Chaperon has heard testimony that Wainwright had provincial and federal identity documents in his name and that of Perran.

He had a prior criminal record and was still serving the final weeks of a conditional sentence at the time he was offered a government job in 2006, Brown wrote.

Wainwright took the criminal record check in Nanaimo under the clean name of Perran, scanned the results, altered them to the surname Wainwright-Perran, changed the given and maiden name, and submitted it to the government, Brown alleged.

"The accused knew that he had criminal convictions under the surname Wainwright, so it was deceitful to use a surname [Perran] that was not associated with those convictions," Brown wrote.

Judge Chaperon had previously warned the Crown of "dangling threads" in its evidence and a lack of information into Wainwright's background.

The Crown is not required to prove why Wainwright changed his name, Brown wrote. There are "inconsistent explanations" in various letters and testimony, she said. "But it would not matter if initially he had a credible reason for changing his name, because ultimately he used that new name to deceive his employer about his criminal record," Brown wrote.

It is likely that Wainwright's defence lawyer, Kirk Karaszkiewic, will focus on a gap in evidence related to one of Wainwright's computer hard drives. RCMP seized several computers from Wainwright's apartment in Victoria. One allegedly contained scanned copies of the RCMP criminal record check form Wainwright is accused of forging.

Several RCMP officers testified about how they seized, processed and analyzed the drives. But a key officer, Const. Keith Gibson, was not called to testify because the Crown said he was unavailable.

Gibson did not provide complete notes or expected "hash value" information (which computer specialists use to ensure drives have not been altered) when he delivered the hard drives to RCMP's commercial crime squad in Vancouver, other police officers have testified.

There is no evidence that the contents of Wainwright's hard drives were altered while in police custody, Brown wrote.

The defence will file its closing arguments later this month.

rfshaw@timescolonist.com

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