A Canadian Navy officer, who was held under custody for allegedly spying for Russian agents and handing them confidential and secret information for years, was sentenced to 20 years in jail Friday.
Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Delisle was found guilty of giving sensitive information to a foreign entity.
"A critical foundation of our intelligence mission is the mutual trust we have forged with our allies, and other intergovernmental and international partners. This is the bedrock of our mutual defence and security," said General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, in a statement.
"Through his own admission, Sub-Lieutenant Delisle violated that trust, not only with our partners, but also with the people with whom he worked on a daily basis, and with the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole," General Lawson said.
Delisle was fined a sum of $111,817, the amount he received from his Russian agents.
When he was arrested last year, he told the police that he was going through an intense marital woe when he decided to go to the Russian Embassy in Ottawa in 2007 and offered to sell secret information to them. In a court video released last week, Delisle told the investigators that the root cause of his betrayal to the country was the anguish he suffered from his wife's infidelity. Unable to commit suicide, which he had contemplated to do, he chose the path of what he called "professional suicide."
He was given access to some of the most sensitive and secret information in the Navy's intelligence and communications center. While working there, he searched through the confidential information in the computers and transferred them into memory sticks and floppies before handing them to the Russians.
"All personnel handling sensitive information are expected to observe stringent security procedures and are held to the highest ethical standards, consistent with the core military values of loyalty, integrity and honour. Clearly, Sub-Lieutenant Delisle's actions failed to meet this standard," General Tom Lawson said.
Defence lawyer Mike Taylor told reporters that Delisle was shocked hearing the 20-year sentence. "It's a significant sentence that he received and one that quite frankly I don't think he was really expecting," Mike Taylor said.
Faced with the prospect of 20 years in jail, Delisle extended his apology to his family last week.
"I want to apologize to my children, my parents, my family. I love them very much and I'm sorry for the hurt and pain that I caused them," he said.
Delisle will spend about 18 years and five months in jail taking into consideration the time he has already spent in custody prior to the sentencing.
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