I’ve been slow in following up on the story of Leston Lawrence, the human piggy bank at the centre (or perhaps the rear) of the Royal Canadian Mint gold smuggling case, so let’s do that now.
He was found guilty at his November trial and at the start of February, Justice Peter Doody (whose name still amuses me) handed down his sentence. Lawrence was ordered to spend 30 months in prison and to pay a $190,000 fine. This led to some awkward moments in the courtroom when upon hearing this, Lawrence reached into his pants to retrieve the money. No, that didn’t happen. What actually happened is that the fine has not yet been paid, and if it remains unpaid for a period of three years after his release Lawrence will head back to the big house for an additional 30 months.
And what of the Mint, whose security or lack thereof turned out to be a pretty big issue while the case was ongoing? In a statement published by the CBC, a spokesperson claims in understandably vague terms that things are improving.
In an emailed statement, a mint spokesperson wrote Thursday that “several improvements” have been made to their security system, “including upgrades to our facility’s security checkpoint and screening process; upgrades to our camera system to high definition which provides real-time monitoring capability in all areas of the mint; and working closely with CATSA [Canadian Air Transport Security Authority] to establish more robust scanning training of our employees.
“The mint is one of the most secure facilities in Canada and we are confident that we have the right security measures in place to effectively operate our business,” the statement reads.