September 25, 2013 5:31 pm

Halifax court sentences Tillman to 9 years for artifact thefts

Video: A Halifax-area man gets a nine year prison sentence for stealing hundreds of rare artifacts. Ross Lord reports.

HALIFAX – John Mark Tillman was sentenced Wednesday to nine years in prison for the theft of hundreds of artifacts from museums, galleries and archives in the Maritimes.

Tillman will only serve eight years less seven days in a federal institution after credit for time served. He has been in custody since January.

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“We felt it was important to distinguish this case from simply a theft of lets say electronics, which you can replace easily and readily,” said Crown Attorney Mark Heerema.

The sentence was a joint recommendation between the Crown and Tillman’s defence lawyer, Mark Bailey.

About 1,600 antiques, ranging from rare books to sculptures, were found in almost every part of Tillman’s home.

“Certainly he was motivated by greed… He amassed a museum and that’s what his house was,” said defence attorney Shauna MacDonald.

“For property related offences, this nears the high end of the spectrum, if not the highest in Nova Scotia,” said Heerema.

In addition to his sentence, Tillman has agreed to forfeit his home, bank account, and the artifacts seized by police.

When addressing the court, Tillman said it was his “hope is that with this gesture, there will be a pool of money that will compensate any legitimate claims to come forward.”

Tillman added that he plans to help the Crown and police track down the artifacts’ lawful owners.

According to Justice John Murphy, Tillman didn’t express regret.

“I did not hear a large degree of remorse,” he said to Tillman. “I did not hear you say you’re sorry for what you’ve done.”

Tillman’s lawyer said his client is remorseful.

“He was obviously trying to get as much info out as he could, but again, speaking with him I can tell you that he’s genuinely remorseful for what happened,” said Bailey.

According to Murphy, Tillman’s crimes have caused more than just monetary losses. He said they’ve made “society in Nova Scotia a less trusting place.”

© Shaw Media, 2013

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