An Ontario court has rejected an appeal from two men who were convicted of several securities offences brought by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).
In 2015, Carlos DaSilva and David Campbell were tried and convicted of securities law violations involving trading while prohibited and trading without registration. They appealed both the convictions and the penalties imposed, which amounted to three months in jail, 18 months probation and 125 hours of community service.
According to the appeal court decision, DaSilva and Campbell argued that the trial judge erred in finding that they knew that they were prohibited from trading. They also argued that the court lacked jurisdiction and that the sentence imposed on them was not appropriate.
The OSC had imposed a lifetime trading ban on DaSilva and Campbell in 2008 after finding that they had engaged in unregistered trading, illegal distribution and making prohibited representations. During a subsequent, unrelated investigation, OSC staff discovered evidence that the two men were trading in violation of that ban, and brought charges against them.
At trial, DaSilva and Campbell argued that they weren’t aware of the ban because they didn’t participate in the OSC hearing against them. However, the trial judge rejected that claim, finding that they were aware of the proceeding, and that the final ruling was both mailed and emailed to them.
The appeal court has upheld this finding, concluding: “There was overwhelming evidence that permitted the learned trial judge to arrive at this finding of fact.”
The ruling noted that after the OSC orders were sent to DaSilva and Campbell, they used fictitious names when dealing with prospective investors, and routed funds through Switzerland — indicating that they knew they were banned from trading.
DaSilva and Campbell also argued that the OSC did not have jurisdiction to ban them from trading outside Ontario. Yet the court found otherwise, ruling: “In this case, there was a real and substantial connection to Ontario and the circumstances of the offence.”
The appeal court also upheld the penalties imposed in the case, the judge ruling: “I am not persuaded that the sentences imposed are not fit in the circumstances of the offenders and the offences.”
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