A Canadian woman jailed in Mexico faces an uncertain future after a judge found her guilty yesterday of participating in an online investment scheme masterminded by her former boss.
Brenda Martin, 51, collapsed and began crying when she learned the Mexican judge had found her guilty and gave her a five-year sentence without parole and a fine of 35,800 pesos — about $3,680 in Canadian dollars — her lawyer said yesterday.
The news was a devastating blow to Martin and her supporters, who had expected the judge to find her innocent and let her walk away from her two-year ordeal within a few hours.
Her childhood friend and advocate Deb Tieleman had already booked a flight that would have brought Martin to Pearson International Airport in Toronto before heading home to her mother in Trenton, Ont.
Martin could still return to Canada shortly. Martin’s lawyer said his client plans to apply to transfer to a Canadian prison, a request that he said Canadian and Mexican officials had already agreed to process quickly.
A spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day indicated Day could have her released from Mexican custody once she signs the paperwork.
“Sometimes, these prisoner transfers can take weeks, if not months, but I have given instructions very (clearly) that we want everything set up ready to go,” Day told CTV Newsnet from New Orleans. “We’re ready to move very quickly on this prisoner transfer and get her home as soon as possible.”
Gar Pardy, former Canadian director general of consular affairs, said yesterday if her prisoner transfer is approved Martin may end up serving only a few weeks in a Canadian prison before she is allowed to go home to her mother.
“Canada would take her Mexican sentence and convert it to a Canadian sentence for the equivalent crime in Canada,” Pardy said.
He said if both Martin and Mexican officials agree to the converted sentence, she would be escorted back to Canada by correctional officers and likely brought to the Kingston prison for women because her family lives nearby.
“Given the fact that she served two years in the Mexican jail, that would count against any sentence in Canada,” Pardy said.

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