B.C. judge calls for harsher sentences for fentanyl dealers

Top court says longer sentences would reflect the current “public health crisis"

A judge at B.C.’s top court is calling for stronger sentences for those who sell fentanyl.

In a ruling posted online Friday, the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal to increase the six-month sentence of a 59-year-old man who was caught with drugs, including 2.6 grams of the deadly opioid.

The Crown had argued that the sentence wasn’t enough, given the “inherent danger” of accidental overdose linked to fentanyl.

READ: Fentanyl: A mother’s pain, a mother’s message

The effort was denied, since fentanyl-related deaths were not as prevalent at the time of the offence. But the three judges agreed the court should identify a higher sentencing range because of the current “public health crisis associated with illicit fentanyl consumption.”

The judge who dissented in the judgment, Justice Mary Newbury, called for a sentence of 18 to 36 months or possibly higher.

Frank Stanley Smith, a first-time offender, tried to sell drugs to an undercover police officer in 2015 on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The current sentencing range for first-time offenders is six to 12 months – the same as heroin.

The fentanyl crisis has led to a sharp increase in overdoses in B.C. There were 922 overdose deaths in the province last year, compared to 510 in 2015. An additional 116 people died in January.

READ: 2016 had almost double the number of overdose deaths as 2015

Ottawa announced an additional $10 million for B.C.’s fight last month, along with $65 million nationwide over the next five years to prevent overdoses. Exactly how that funding is going to be doled out has yet to be determined, but the B.C. government says it will help support the work of its Joint Task Force on Overdose Response.

READ: Ottawa gives $10 million for B.C. opioid crisis

B.C.’s chief coroner, Lisa Lapointe, has said she believes fentanyl is to blame for most the increase in overdose deaths, since the number of deaths with no fentanyl detected has remained stable since 2011.




Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Just Posted

Three percent accommodation tax approved for Bella Coola accommodation providers

Only fixed-room accommodation providers with four rooms or more are required to charge the tax.

U.S. consulate general to visit Northwest

Trip part of the region’s first-ever pop-up consul for American residents

B.C.’s north heats up to record highs

Bella Bella, Masset, Prince Rupert and the Cassiar Area all broke records

Sealed DNA in Phillip Tallio murder case must be released, orders Judge

A unanimous decision by B.C. Court of Appeal judges has ordered the release of a sealed DNA sample

BC Rural Dividend funds wildfire recovery projects in the Bella Coola Valley

Central Coast Regional District and Central Coast Communications Society are both receiving funds

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Pro-Trump protest sign with F-word is OK, court rules

Judges say Ontario man can protest publicly, even using vulgar language

VIDEO: Police officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Canadian expert says his analytics company helped Trump campaign capitalize on private Facebook info

Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle

Ride-hailing company suspends all road-testing of such vehicles in U.S. and Canada

Spring snow melt uncovers dirty needles in B.C. city

Vernon residents are upset with number of needles being found around town with spring melt

US would host majority of games at 2026 World Cup

A decision on the winning bid will be made June 13 at the FIFA Congress in Mexico

Most Read