B.C. man found guilty in seven-year-old drug case
MAN TO RETURN TO COURT LATER IN MONTH TO SET SENTENCING DATE
AB.C. man who sold cocaine to a Lethbridge undercover police officer nearly seven years ago will have to wait a few more weeks before he knows how much time he’ll have to spend in jail.
Following a one-day trial in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench, Madam Justice Michele H. Hollins found Henri Philip guilty Wednesday of trafficking cocaine to the officer in 2011. Sentencing has been adjourned, however, to give the Crown and defence time to prepare their submissions, and the matter will return to court Oct. 22 to set a date, possibly in the new year, to sentence Philip.
On Dec. 21, 2011 police involved in an unrelated drug investigation seized a cellphone, on which they unexpectedly received a call from a drug dealer. Officers set up an undercover drug transaction and met Philip in the parking lot of an apartment complex where they made a deal to buy 9.5 grams of cocaine for $900.
Police directed Philip to sit in the rear passenger seat of the truck in which they arrived, then produced the cash. Philip handed over the drugs, and was immediately arrested by another officer waiting nearby.
Lethbridge lawyer Wade Hlady suggested police could not positively identify Philip as the drug dealer and that their memories could not be reliable after seven years. He also said correct identification would have been difficult because it was dark outside and the parking lot was poorly lit.
But Justice Hollins said she believes the three officers involved in the sting did, through first-hand observation, identify the accused beyond reasonable doubt, as did the B.C. driver’s licence, with photo and address, that Philip possessed when he was arrested.
Philip, who is in custody on other charges, consented to his remand pending his sentencing hearing. Hlady also pointed out the adjournment will give him time to look into immigration issues facing his client.
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