June 6, 1996

Robert Benzie

MPP to enrol in John School?
Vankoughnet could avoid criminal conviction

TORONTO - Exiled Tory MPP Bill Vankoughnet, nabbed in Parkdale during a Metro Police hooker sting, will attend john school, his lawyer hinted yesterday. Vankoughnet, 53, did not appear in court as scheduled, instead sending lawyer Dennis Morris who asked for and was granted a two-month delay. That would give the Frontenac-Addington MPP, sitting as an Independent until his case is resolved, time to enrol in the one-day john course before his next court appearance Aug. 14. If an accused john chooses to attend the fledgling school for first-time offenders, it means he "accepts responsibility" but avoids a criminal conviction, Morris noted. "On a charge like this, anybody would consider it. We'll see if he desires to take advantage of it. I have to consult with him," he said >outside Old City Hall Court.

Tory Caucus

"Certainly there are benefits (to going to john school). If a charge is withdrawn, that's a tremendous benefit as opposed to going to court." Morris refused to say what course of action Vankoughnet will take, but he stressed that by going to the school, the MPP could be re-admitted to the Tory caucus. "It's an option that in all likelihood he may consider," he said. Asked if that would give Vankoughnet a second chance, Morris shrugged. "I'm not sure about second chance. It's a very good program," he said. "But I think anybody with this type of charge would have that concern (about getting a criminal record.)" Vankoughnet was arrested May 1 in a police sweep at Queen St. W. and Sourauren Ave. and charged with communication for the purpose of obtaining sexual services of a prostitute. The bachelor allegedly identified himself as an MPP to police that night. A former federal Tory MP, he was known in Ottawa as a proponent of "family values."

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Created: November 13, 1996
Last modified: November 18, 1996

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