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Garth Drabinsky’s bid for full parole delayed

Garth Drabinsky arrives at a Toronto court in 2009. His application for full parole was delayed after the Parole Board of Canada ordered a new hearing in his case.


Theatre producer Garth Drabinsky has had his application for full parole delayed after the Parole Board of Canada ordered a new hearing in his case.

Mr. Drabinsky will remain on day parole in the meantime, which means he is living at a Toronto halfway house where he must report back every night. He is allowed weekend passes to stay at his home or cottage.

The former chief executive officer of live theatre company Livent Inc. was convicted of fraud in 2009 after an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled he systematically misstated Livent's financial results in every quarter after Livent became a public company in 1993 until 1998.

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He was originally ordered to serve seven years in jail, but the sentence was reduced to five years on appeal. He served his sentence at Beaver Creek Institution, a minimum-security prison in Gravenhurst, Ont., about 160 kilometres north of Toronto. Federal prisoners are eligible for full parole after serving one-third of their sentences, and for day parole six months before the full-parole date.

Mr. Drabinsky was granted day parole for six months last October, but did not begin his release until February. More recently, Mr. Drabinsky applied for full parole, which would mean he would not have to spend his nights at a halfway house.

In a decision dated July 12, the parole board said Mr. Drabinsky has had "no behavioural or compliance issues" and his risk of reoffending "remains low." But the board said it wants more information about his current work situation.

"You continue to minimize aspects of your offending and from the board's perspective details of your employment need further clarification," the decision says.

Mr. Drabinsky has been working "for a substantial annual salary" for a company that has been set up in trust in the names of his wife and children, the parole board said, and "it is unclear who owns the company."

As a condition of his current day parole, he is restricted from owning or operating his own business. Mr. Drabinsky is also prohibited from being in a position of responsibility for managing money for any other individual, company or charity.

At his parole hearing last October, Mr. Drabinsky told the hearing he hoped to continue working as a behind-the-scenes producer in the entertainment industry, and said he is being supported financially by his brother, Cyril Drabinsky, who heads a film post-production company.

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Mr. Drabinsky's business partner and co-accused, Myron Gottlieb, was granted full parole in February.

At its peak in the 1990s, Livent was North America's largest live theatre company, producing musicals such as The Phantom of the Opera, Show Boat, Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman.

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