Nova Scotia

Ontario man fined $1,000 for soliciting sex from underage girl in Halifax

Paul Christopher Coburn, 48, has been fined $1,000 by a Nova Scotia judge for soliciting sex from a 15-year-old while staying at a downtown Halifax hotel.

Paul Christopher Coburn, 48, had sex with 15-year-old at downtown hotel

Paul Christopher Coburn is shown at Halifax provincial court on April 23, 2019. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

An Ontario financial advisor has been fined $1,000 by a Nova Scotia judge for soliciting sex from a 15-year-old girl while staying at a downtown Halifax hotel.

Paul Christopher Coburn, 48, was sentenced Monday morning in Halifax provincial court.

Judge Elizabeth Buckle rejected Crown requests that Coburn be sentenced to 18 months probation and have his DNA placed in a national data bank.

Crown prosecutor Carla Ball had argued the probation was necessary so that Coburn could receive counselling on the harm crimes like his cause to victims of the sex trade.

At his trial earlier this year, Coburn testified that on Feb. 21, 2017, while staying at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, he had gone on the internet classified site Craigslist looking to obtain the services of a masseuse.

What he got was a 15-year-old girl who was being trafficked by another man, Leeanthon Oliver, who has been convicted of human trafficking and is serving an eight-year sentence.

Coburn testified they had sex but that he thought the girl was in her 20s.

Can't visit children

Buckle ruled the Crown had failed to prove Coburn knew that the girl was underage.

She convicted him of communicating for the purposes of buying sexual services on the internet, but acquitted him of four other sex-related charges.

Coburn's lawyer, Joel Pink, told court Monday that his client has given up his job and is unable to visit his children, who live with his ex-wife in the United States. Pink said Coburn is staying with his brother in Oakville, Ont., and living off his savings.

Pink said Coburn's conviction means he must apply to American border officials for permission to go to the U.S. to see his children. Pink said an immigration lawyer has told Coburn that process could take two years or more.

Coburn declined an opportunity to speak before sentencing. He indicated through his lawyer that he was prepared to pay the fine right away.

About the Author

Blair Rhodes

Reporter

Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca