A volunteer Cocaine Anonymous (CA) surprised to enter the prison hashish in 2009 managed to reduce his sentence by half by the Court of Appeal on Friday. Four years, his sentence increased to two years.
Robert Gauthier, 60, was a volunteer in the context of the CA meetings at Leclerc Institution. The December 10, 2009, it was found on him 195 grams of hashish while he was in the confines of the prison. At his trial, almost five years later, Mr. Gauthier admitted all the facts, but he presented a defense of duress, claiming that he was threatened.
Gilles Garneau judge had not believed and was convicted of possession of hashish for the purpose of trafficking. The defense attorney had asked for a sentence served in the community, arguing that Mr. Gauthier was a depressive man who had little in life but who had managed to overcome his addiction and had found a employment. The Crown suggested a sentence of two to three years.
Garneau The judge agreed to postpone sentencing to allow Mr. Gauthier time to make arrangements for his dog, his car and his home, but warned him to come back with a bag of “average size” for his stay in prison. In November 2014, Mr. Gauthier was finally sentenced to four years in prison.
Garneau The judge argued that he was “doubly serious, whether a correctional officer or volunteer, to bring drugs inside a detention center”.
On appeal, the Gauthier lawyers successfully argued that in terms of the moral culpability, we can not put on the same footing a correctional officer and a volunteer. The Court of Appeal has held other arguments to reduce the sentence, including the fact that Mr. Gauthier had made considerable efforts for years to get rid of his addiction. Indeed, even the Crown was of the view that a two-year sentence was appropriate in the circumstances. A three-year probation order was also imposed on Mr. Gauthier.
“In 2009, the maximum penalty for this offense (less than three kilograms of hashish) was five years less a day. Since 2012, a minimum two-year penalty is provided when possession for purpose of trafficking takes place inside a prison.
Mr. Gauthier was represented by Ms. Marie-Pier Boulet and Mr. Hugo Marquis. Mr. François Legault represented the Crown.
Judges François Doyon, Marie Saint Pierre and Manon Savard, the Court of Appeal have ruled. ”