A city contractor characterized as "not the best accountant" faces 60 days in jail and thousands of dollars in fines for procrastinating with the taxman.
John Clark, a tradesman and contractor, pleaded guilty to failure to comply with a court order. It is the third time he's failed to file the paperwork, contrary to a judge's orders.
The charges are not in relation for any failure to pay taxes owing, simply for not filing.
"I don't particularly like asking for jail for someone like Mr. Clark who doesn't have a criminal record," said prosecutor Anthony Varesi.
"But court orders have to be respected. Given time over the years, a custodial sentence is warranted."
Clark's tax records are 10 years overdue. But he asked for another few weeks Friday before being sentenced so he can prove that the long-lost paperwork is actually in the hands of his accountant.
The accountant, according to Clark, is on holiday.
"I spoke to Canada Revenue Agency this morning," Varesi said. "They haven't been filed."
Clark did, however, file another set of more recent tax returns following a court order.
He has already been levied $8,000 in court-ordered fines over his failure to file.
Even if Clark's accountant has possession and files the decade-old return, Clark faces a probable jail sentence. He was granted bail by provincial court Judge Stephen Harrison after putting down a $1,000 deposit on Friday to ensure he returns to court.
He was arrested this week after missing his last court date for a sentence hearing.
Varesi is asking for a $5,000 fine and 60 days in jail for the 67-year-old grandfather of two.
Defence lawyer Murray Armstrong conceded a jail sentence is in order for Clark, after twice breaking earlier court orders.
In 2008, a provincial court judge gave Clark a 60-day conditional sentence, a $4,000 fine and ordered that he file papers by December 2010. That came after a first breach of the order to file in 2006.
The judge warned jail was the next step.
While some paperwork was filed, the 2002-03 tax year remains outstanding.
Armstrong said Clark began to struggle a decade ago when he went through a divorce.
"Everything seemed to fall apart, including his records. . . . He's acknowledged he's not the world's best accountant. He focused on his work and unfortunately hasn't done a good job record keeping."
Armstrong asked Harrison to sentence Clark to serve jail on weekends, so that he can keep working. The hearing was adjourned until later this month, when Harrison is scheduled to render a decision.