By: E&P Staff
Nearly seven in ten Canadians think Conrad Black, the Montreal native convicted of swindling shareholders of his ruined newspaper empire, should spend some time in jail, according to a poll by Canadian Press and Decima Research released Sunday.
Canadians by overwhelming an overwhelming majority also think Black should not be allowed to regain Canadian citizenship. In a public spat with then-Premier Jean Chretien, Black renounced his citizenship to accept appointment to the British House of Lords as Lord Black of Crossharbour. Before his trial in Chicago on federal fraud, racketeering and obstruction of justice charges, he had been living in Toronto under a temporary residence permit. The presiding judge in his case has so far refused to permit him to travel back to Canada.
The survey of more than 1,000 Canadians found that a plurality of Black’s countrymen think the jury got it about right when they convicted him of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, and acquitted him of nine other charges, including the most serious, racketeering. In the survey, 48% said the jury go it about right, 8% said it was too severe — and 22% said the verdict was not severe enough.
Fully 69% said Black should spend some time in jail in addition to paying a fine for his convictions. Just 10% said a fine would be sufficient punishment. Asked how long Black’s term should be, 40% said from one to nine years, while 29% want him to serve 10 years or more.
U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve has set sentencing for Nov. 30.
Six in ten Canadians surveyed said Black should not be able to regain his citizenship. There were reports before Black’s trial began last March that he was seeking Canadian citizenship. As a convicted felon, he faces a difficult, if not impossible, task in winning citizenship.
Black has said he will appeal the conviction — but Canadians by a narrow majority of 53% think he won’t be successful overturning the conviction.