June 15th, 2024

Selling small amount of cocaine to undercover police nets man more than two years

By Jeremy Appel on July 27, 2018.


jappel@medicinehatnews.com
@MHNJeremyAppel

A man accused of selling less than a gram of cocaine to an undercover police officer was found guilty at Medicine Hat Provincial Court and sentenced to a little more than two years in prison.

Stephen Rainville appeared via closed-circuit TV from Medicine Hat Remand Centre on Tuesday, when at one point during the Crown’s arguments, he sat down against the door with his head in his hands and proceeded to lie down on the floor.

Defence lawyer James Rouleau had to tell him to stand up.

A key point of contention in the Crown and defence’s arguments for sentencing was whether the small amount of cocaine sold could be considered a mitigating factor.

The prosecution argued he was selling commercially, as opposed to “wholescale,” and that was the sole relevant factor concerning quantity.

Rouleau however, argued there’s a significant difference between someone selling on a large scale, small scale and less than a gram.

The undercover officer originally attempted to solicit a significant amount of methamphetamine from Rainville, but the accused only had a small amount of cocaine to sell.

“There was no bigger bust after that,” said Rouleau.

In asking for a sentence of more than three years, including the four-and-a-half months he spent in pre-trial custody, the Crown argued Rainville has a prior conviction for trafficking from 2010, when he received 18 months imprisonment after pleading guilty.

Rouleau argued Rainville cannot be penalized for exercising his constitutional right to a trial by pleading not-guilty in this instance, requesting a sentence of 21-and-a-half months including pre-trial custody.

“We don’t penalize for going to trial,” Rouleau said, while acknowledging a guilty plea is considered a mitigating factor.

Judge C. Spence sentenced Rainville to 25-and-a-half months in prison.

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