Nova Scotia

N.S. man who avoided $500K in child support is broke, lawyer tells court

Joseph Patrick Power was subject to multiple warrants for contempt of court, both for failing to attend court and failing to pay over $500,000 in child support dating back to 2014.

Joseph Patrick Power made a tearful apology Monday to the court, his parents and ex

Joseph Power, who has since remarried, was arrested in Montreal last month. (Facebook)

A Nova Scotia man who owes more than $500,000 in child support is broke and has no way of paying the money, his lawyer told a sentencing hearing Monday.

Lawyer Brian Bailey called for a sentence of 18 months to 2½ years for his client, Joseph Patrick Power, arguing any longer would be akin to debtors' prison.

Power declined to testify at the hearing, but offered a tearful apology to the court, his parents and his ex-wife.

"I'm so sorry. We can do better than this. I can do better than this," he said. 

Power was wanted on multiple warrants for contempt of court, both for failing to attend court and failing to pay child support payments dating back to 2014.

He was arrested last month in Montreal and returned to Nova Scotia to face sentencing. Power remains in custody at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Burnside.

To win his release, Power must "purge" his contempt of court by paying what he owes. 

Power's current wife, Tara Power, testified the family is living off her credit cards, and for a while lived without furniture in their Montreal apartment. 

She told the court her husband has been unable to obtain photo ID since his passport was seized for failure to make payments. Without an ID, he has been unable to get the specialized cardiology and hematology care he needs because he can't establish residency in Quebec.

Angela Power is Joseph Power's ex-wife. (CBC)

Igor Yushchenko, the lawyer acting for Power's ex-wife, Angela Power, asked for the maximum incarceration period of five years, plus fines of $276,000. 

He pointed out that a Nova Scotia court already established that Joseph Power's company was billing up to $20,000 a month in years he wasn't making support payments.

The court also established Power had transferred money outside of Canada. 

Yushchenko compared the situation to the high-profile Nova Scotia case of Vrege Armoyan, who was sentenced to four years for failure to pay support in 2015.

Power promised the court he would "do his damndest" to rectify the situation. 

"I'm a man of my word. That's all I have," he said.

Justice Elizabeth Jollimore is expected to deliver her sentence Tuesday afternoon.

About the Author

Jack Julian

Reporter

Jack Julian joined CBC Nova Scotia as an arts reporter in 1997. His news career began on the morning of Sept. 3, 1998 following the crash of Swissair 111. He is now a data journalist in Halifax, and you can reach him at (902) 456-9180, by email at jack.julian@cbc.ca or follow him on Twitter @jackjulian

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