The Ontario Supreme Court of Justice in Chatham, seen on March 18, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Bothwell man accused of tax fraud gets jail time before trial

A Bothwell man has been sentenced to 86 days of jail time for break-and-enter and breach of probation.

In front of Justice Gerri Wong on Wednesday, Michael Hulme was sentenced to roughly two months in jail with 18 months of probation.

The breakdown for jail time is:

  • 21 days for break-and-enter
  • 45 days consecutive for forged documents and breach of probation
  • 10 days for failing to attend court
  • 10 days for breaching a recognizance
  •  21 days for breach of recognizance

Hulme has served 39 days prior to Wednesday’s decision, which Justice Wong recognized and took off the sentence.

It was a mostly empty courtroom with only reporters and a representative from the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in the gallery. The court heard Hulme lives with developmental and emotional disorders. As well, has problems with substance abuse.

During the proceedings on Wednesday, defence attorney Ken Marley noted that Hulme has recently undertaken volunteer work with Habitat For Humanity and has begun regular check-ins with the CMHA. The pre-sentence report, however, cites that Hulme has a tendency to pull back from services once sentencing is handed down. Hulme has a criminal record dating back to 1993, the court heard.

Crown prosecutor Nick Bazylko chalked it up to “pulling the wool over your honour’s eyes.”

“We have to call a spade, a spade,” he said.

Following a two-hour lunch break, Wong returned to the bench to pass down her decision.

“I don’t think you’re conning me,” said Wong, to Hulme. “At 39 years old you have the potential to live a good life ahead of you… if you are motivated to change then you will change.”

Hulme will reappear in court on August 8 as it is expected he will stand trial for allegedly committing tax fraud.

According to documents Michael Hulme unlawfully claimed child tax benefits for up to 40 children in the amount of nearly $61,000 between 2014 and 2015.