A former civilian director of an elite intelligence unit in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Wednesday after his conviction last year of giving confidential operational information to four men who were targets of police investigations.
The sentence is half of what prosecutors had sought for the intelligence official, Cameron Ortis, whose motive, they acknowledged, remains unknown and who, they agreed, had been highly respected as the director general of the national intelligence coordination unit in Canada’s national police force.
Mr. Ortis will get credit for the six and a half years he had spent in jail while awaiting trial and following his conviction in November.
The case was the first time that charges under Canada’s 1985 Security of Information Act had been brought to trial. The act’s provisions meant that Mr. Ortis was “permanently bound to secrecy,” therefore his testimony was conducted in secret with only censored transcripts made public. Other evidence has been kept secret.
Mr. Ortis repeatedly declared his innocence and testified that his actions had been part of a top-secret, international mission he had embarked on during a leave of absence in 2015 — to study French — and that the mission had been brought to him by someone at “a foreign agency.”
He testified that binding promises he had made in taking on the operation prevented him from naming that person, identifying where he or she worked or telling the court what threat to Canada had prompted him to take on the task.
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