A Nanaimo man is calling for compassion in light of his outstanding fines linked to his criminal record dating back more than 20 years.
Robb McCaghren’s more than willing to pay the fines, but he says he wasn’t aware he had two totalling $100 each still outstanding.
McCaghren applied for a record suspension, the new term for a pardon, but they’re now preventing him from getting a much-needed job.
He was recently offered a job at a courier company contingent on a criminal record check, but it didn’t come back clean.
More than two decades ago, when McCaghren was a young adult, he says he made a small string of bad decisions that included a break-and-enter and several failures to attend court.
The company offered to hold the job while he applied for a record suspension, and McCaghren says he’s since started the process and is surprised by the results.
“There are two $100 fines from 1997 and 1998 that went unpaid, and I had no idea that they were unpaid,” he told CHEK News.
McCaghren says he was never notified in the years since he had outstanding fines, during which time he’s run two businesses, including Nomadik Creative, and become a family man.
In recent years, he’s even become a crime fighter, including in 2017 when he made a citizen’s arrest before police arrested and charged a suspect.
McCaghren called the Parole Board about paying the fines and applying for a record suspension.
“They told me that even if I paid the two fines, I would have to wait five years to reapply, and it could take between six months and a year for the application to go through,” he said.
In a statement, the Parole Board of Canada says, “while we sympathize with this individual’s situation and understand that many applicants are in difficult or pressing personal circumstances, record suspension applications are processed according to the eligibility criteria set out in the law.”
McCaghren says he feels extremely frustrated by the situation, noting there should be a special application process to request a record suspension in a situation such as his.
“Two $100 fines is such a tiny, tiny obstacle to stand between me and a really good paying job that puts my family in financial comfort,” added McCaghren.
He says the federal government would benefit more from his annual income taxes than potentially being unable to pay rent and his family being financially vulnerable.