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Drabinsky loses bid to appeal fraud conviction

Garth Drabinsky leaves court in Toronto in this 2009 file photo.

Charla Jones/Charla Jones/The Globe and Mail

There will be no final curtain call for theatre promoter Garth Drabinsky, who has lost his bid to appeal his fraud conviction to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Canada's top court announced Thursday it will not hear an appeal of an Ontario Court of Appeal decision last September, which upheld Mr. Drabinsky's 2009 fraud conviction and dismissed his request for a new trial.

The ruling means Mr. Drabinsky has exhausted his last option for appeal after a decade-long legal battle over charges that he and business partner Myron Gottlieb systemically misstated the financial statements of live-theatre company Livent Inc. between 1993 and 1998.

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Mr. Drabinsky is in prison, serving a five-year sentence, while Mr. Gottlieb is serving four years. Mr. Gottlieb did not join the application seeking to appeal to the Supreme Court.

As is typical for the Supreme Court, it did not give reasons for rejecting Mr. Drabinsky's application for leave to appeal.

The court generally only hears appeals in cases where it believes there is an important matter of law that needs to be decided or clarified.

Mr. Drabinsky's long-time lawyer, Edward Greenspan, could not be reached Thursday for comment on the top court's decision.

Mr. Drabinsky and Mr. Gottlieb were convicted in Ontario Superior Court in 2009 of two counts of fraud; they were found to have manipulated Livent's financial statements in every quarter after the company went public in 1993 until its collapse in 1998.

They appealed the conviction to the Ontario Court of Appeal, which upheld the decision in September, 2011, but reduced their sentences – from seven years to five years for Mr. Drabinsky and from six years to four years for Mr. Gottlieb. The men reported to prison at that time to begin serving their sentences.

Federal inmates are eligible for parole after serving one-third of their sentences, and can receive day parole six months before full parole is available.

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That means Mr. Gottlieb should be eligible for day parole in July, and Mr. Drabinsky should be eligible by November.

Livent brought hits such as Phantom of the Opera and Ragtime to Toronto and other venues in North America in the 1990s. The company collapsed in 1998 after new investors raised questions about the firm's accounting practices, leading to a police investigation and criminal charges.

Mr. Drabinsky is reportedly serving his sentence at Beaver Creek Institution, a minimum-security federal facility in Gravenhurst, Ont., about 160 kilometres north of Toronto.

The Correctional Service of Canada said 200 inmates at Beaver Creek are housed in five residential style units where they can prepare meals in small groups and are responsible for cleaning their own units.

Beaver Creek provides programs to "promote inmates' successful reintegration by allowing them to live independently and giving them responsibility for their needs," according to the Correctional Service website.

The website said 32 per cent of inmates at Beaver Creek are serving life sentences and 48 per cent are serving sentences of more than 40 months but less than life.

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About the Author
Real Estate Reporter

Janet McFarland is the real estate reporter for The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, with a focus on residential real estate trends. She joined Report on Business in 1995, and has specialized in reporting on corporate governance, executive compensation, pension policy, business law, securities regulation and enforcement of white-collar crime. More

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