Court ver­dict

As­sault charge with­drawn in provin­cial court

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DIANE CROCKER

Labrador man given ab­so­lute dis­charge in court re­lated to a pos­ses­sion charge.

The re­lief was ev­i­dent on his face as An­drew Ab­bass walked out of the Cor­ner Brook court­house on Aug. 16.

Within the span of 45 min­utes the Labrador man had been granted an ab­so­lute dis­charge in the Supreme Court of New­found­land and Labrador and had another charge dis­missed in the provin­cial court.

Ab­bass’s trou­ble with the le­gal sys­tem started back in April 2015 while liv­ing in Cor­ner Brook. On April 7 com­ments he made on Twit­ter about the shoot­ing death of Don­ald Dun­phy sparked a visit by po­lice and a de­ten­tion at the psy­chi­atric unit at Western Me­mo­rial Re­gional Hos­pi­tal un­der the prov­ince’s Men­tal Health Care and Treat­ment Act.

While in hos­pi­tal po­lice raided his home and found mar­i­juana plants that he ad­mits to grow­ing for per­sonal med­i­cal us­age.

Ab­bass and his part­ner at the time, Iu­lia Sivolap, were charged with un­law­fully pro­duc­ing mar­i­juana and un­law­fully pos­sess­ing mar­i­juana un­der the Con­trolled Drugs and Sub­stances Act.

The charges were laid in May 2015 and later moved from the provin­cial court to the Supreme Court.

On Aug. 15 Ab­bass en­tered a guilty plea to the pos­ses­sion charge and the mat­ter was set to the next day for sen­tenc­ing. Dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing Jus­tice Brian Furey said he ac­cepted Ab­bass’s guilty plea and was sat­is­fied that he gave it vol­un­tar­ily.

Fed­eral Crown at­tor­ney David Mills had sought a con­di­tional dis­charge and pro­ba­tion for six months, while Ab­bass had asked for an ab­so­lute dis­charge.

Furey noted that Ab­bass doesn’t have a crim­i­nal record, in­tended to move back to Labrador to work and now has a li­cence to ob­tain med­i­cal mar­i­juana.

Furey said the of­fence com­mit­ted by Ab­bass is what he would term not of a sig­nif­i­cant na­ture in the types of of­fences that come be­fore the court and he was sat­is­fied the im­po­si­tion of a dis­charge was in Ab­bass’s best in­ter­est.

Furey did grant a Crown re­quest for for­fei­ture of the items seized by po­lice, which Ab­bass agreed to.

The pro­duc­tion charge against Ab­bass and both charges against Sivolap, who was not present, were with­drawn.

Af­ter leav­ing Supreme Court, Ab­bass went down­stairs to provin­cial court where Mills with­drew a charge of as­sault­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer al­leged to have oc­curred on May 19, 2015.

While the crim­i­nal charges against him have been dealt with, Ab­bass is still await­ing a rul­ing by Furey on a habeas cor­pus hear­ing over his claim that his de­ten­tion in the hos­pi­tal was un­law­ful.

In April 2015, lawyers with le­gal aid’s men­tal health of­fice ar­gued be­fore Jus­tice David Hur­ley that Ab­bass was be­ing held un­law­fully and the court should hear the ar­gu­ments for his re­lease. Hur­ley dis­missed the re­quest and Ab­bass later ap­pealed his de­ci­sion.

In April of this year, the New­found­land and Labrador Court of Ap­peal ruled Ab­bass’s case should have been heard in court. Furey heard the mat­ter on July 7.

FILE PHOTO

An­drew Ab­bass was in the Supreme Court of New­found­land and Labrador in Cor­ner Brook on Au­gust 16.

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