Great Glasses' Bergez, wife to be sentenced Oct. 1

Bergez told the court that Justice David Crane's order to impose a $1-million fine in November 2006 was "a crushing decision."…"It was a mil that nobody could pay." Ironically, however, Bergez later acknowledged in court that he rang up a $1-million legal bill with Gowlings law firm to appeal decisions unsuccessfully all the way to the Supreme Court, with $300,000 of the legal bill still owing.

The Hamilton Spectator
August 24, 2010

Great Glasses' Bergez, wife to be sentenced Oct. 1

Bruce_Bergez_Joanne_Bergez.jpeg

Bruce Bergez and his wife Joanne arrive at court yesterday for their sentencing hearing.

Great Glasses founder Bruce Bergez and his wife will be sentenced Oct. 1 for criminal and civil contempt for flagrantly defying a number of court orders for the past seven years.

Superior Court Justice James Turnbull set that Hamilton court date yesterday following a sentencing hearing in which he rebuked the couple for the "absolutely mind-boggling" amount of time and money unnecessarily spent on their case.

Bruce and Joanne Bergez and their companies have amassed tens of millions of dollars in fines that have been accumulating since 2006 for not being in compliance with Ontario legislation governing the prescribing and dispensing of eyeglasses and contact lenses.

"I gather from the tenor of your comments that we have a serious debt to pay to society," Bruce Bergez said when given the chance to address court yesterday during his sentencing hearing.

The couple is facing the prospect of significant jail time. Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General, College of Optometrists and College of Opticians are jointly recommending that Bergez and his wife be imprisoned for two years and one year respectively.

The judge will release his sentencing decision on Oct. 1 at 11:30 a.m. in Hamilton court.

Bergez's submission turned into a long, rambling, defiant rehashing of past history as he tried to explain why he didn't believe he was breaking the law for the past seven years.

Instead, he suggested the "huge mistake" was the result of misinterpreting the original 2003 decision by Justice Ray Harris, which triggered the subsequent contempt findings.

At various points, Bergez asked the judge to consider alternatives to jail time, including house arrest, a conditional sentence, and even some variation of an aboriginal sentencing circle.

Bergez also suggested the possibility of community service.

"I can do better things and more things for people that way rather than sitting in a cell," Bergez said.

"Certainly, incarceration would limit my future potential earnings," he added.

Bergez told the court that Justice David Crane's order to impose a $1-million fine in November 2006 was "a crushing decision."

"Joanne and I were dead that day," Bergez said.

"It was a mil that nobody could pay."

Ironically, however, Bergez later acknowledged in court that he rang up a $1-million legal bill with Gowlings law firm to appeal decisions unsuccessfully all the way to the Supreme Court, with $300,000 of the legal bill still owing.

Bergez unsuccessfully attempted to get the sentencing hearing adjourned because he said he was unable to find a lawyer to represent him.

He also said he applied for legal aid but was turned down.

The judge showed a flash of anger when he made a decision authorizing fees that had been submitted by the receiver and various lawyers representing the colleges and the attorney general.

"The amount of money and the amount of time spent unnecessarily in this case is absolutely mind-boggling," said Turnbull, turning to Bergez, "all because a certain individual or individuals have chosen to not obey the law."

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Comments

1. kathy Hagan By: kathy Hagan
Sep 15, 2010 5:02 PM
Despicable

Now they are pleading for mercy from the judge. They didn't show much mercy to their customers or franchise owners, instead they put hundreds of clients at risk and bilked others. Shame on them.

2. Machinehead By: Machinehead
Sep 15, 2010 4:56 PM
I Hope That this clown ends up getting "double bunked" in Joyceville with a large man named Bubba. I'm sure he'll be the most popular guy in the institution!

3. Juanita Elizabeth Pike By: koonab
Sep 15, 2010 4:41 PM
koonab

I am going through dealing with their lies at the Cambridge location ,I was told 2 months ago they would submit my claim for my insurance it was never done. When I did it came back to be signed by license dispensing optician.Of course they don't.Both pairs broke within a week and they had to be repaired and it wasn't done properly. I am still waiting to see what will happen some kid working there said they will send off my claim. My question how? I already did. I just hate people losing hard earned money and people not aware of there scammers getting richer and richer.

4. Denise53 By: Denise53
Aug 24, 2010 11:23 AM
Throw the book at both of them. They need serious jail time to strip them of their smug contempt.

5. the face By: the face
Aug 24, 2010 8:40 AM
He just doesn't get it, does he?

Defiant and smug to the end, eh Bruce? This guy should rot in jail, and any other con artists of his ilk should join him there, too. People's lives and savings have or will be ruined by this smug SOB and two years is not enough. We nedd to send a clear message out there that this behaviour will no longer be tolerated. Off with his head!!

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/251006--great-glasses-bergez-wife-to-be-sentenced-oct-1


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