An Edmonton man charged with sexual contact involving a minor has been sentenced to 25 years in a Cuban prison, time his lawyer hopes he can serve here if an appeal fails.

Perry King's lawyer, Sid Tarrabain, says flimsy evidence was used to convict his client, who spent more than four months in jail before being formally charged.

"We're hoping that when our government sees what evidence, or lack thereof, at the end of the day they will hopefully support Mr. King who is a Canadian citizen," Tarrabain said. "At this point in time he wants to clear his name.

"We did not see that there was reasonable evidence to convict him. But obviously, they chose to. I can tell you, it's devastating to him, he's maintained his innocence, continues to maintain his innocence and the evidence suggests he is innocent."

Tarrabain plans to file an appeal of the conviction.

Canada and Cuba are parties to a treaty that allows prisoners to be transferred to their homeland to serve their sentence and under that, King could be returned to Canada. He and representatives from the two countries would have to agree.

King, 40, has been living and working in Cuba over the past four years.

Kimberly Phillips, a spokeswoman with the Canadian departmant of foreign affairs, says they have contacted Cuban authorities to make sure King is being treated properly and diplomats will visit him before May 14.

From Jan. 20, 2003: Family of man jailed in Cuba meets with MP