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By Laura Godfrey
April 27, 2010
6:44 PM

Filed under News

Author Peter Watts avoids jail time

More than four months after an altercation with U.S. border guards at the Port Huron–Sarnia border, and several weeks after being found guilty of “non-compliance with a border guard” by a U.S. court, Canadian sci-fi author Peter Watts has received his sentence: he has been ordered to pay a fine in lieu of serving jail time. Sentencing took place Monday afternoon, and shortly afterward, Watts posted a brief update on his blog, which simply read: “I. Am. Coming home. More tomorrow.”

Fellow genre author David Nickle accompanied Watts to the sentencing, and immediately afterward Nickle sent word to his partner, Karen Fernandez, that Watts would be returning to Canada with him. “I just heard from David,” Fernandez wrote in an e-mail forwarded to Q&Q. “After a long talk from the judge about how you need to be nice to the police, Peter has to pay a fine, but no jail time. They are going out for a beer with Doug [Mullkoff], Peter’s lawyer, and a bunch of people who showed up for the sentencing.”

According to court records, which state that Watts “stood mute” when given the opportunity to plead his case, the fine amounts to $1,628. That figure breaks down as: $1,000 in court costs, $500 in fines, $68 for the state minimum cost, and $60 for crime victim’s rights.

Lorna Toolis, head of the Merril Collection of Science-fiction, Speculation, and Fantasy at the Lillian H. Smith Library in Toronto, has been following the case and told Q&Q she was relieved that Watts won’t be serving any jail time. “It’s a great weight off everyone’s minds,” she said.

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