B.C. judge says mandatory minimum for drug offences is unconstitutional

VANCOUVER - A British Columbia Provincial Court judge has ruled that the mandatory minimum sentence for drug trafficking recently introduced by the federal government is a violation of the Charter of Rights and declared it "of no force and effect."

B.C. Provincial Court Judge J.F. Galati Joseph Galati sentenced Joseph Ryan Lloyd today to 191 days behind bars, saying the 25-year-old from Alberta was a low-level dealer selling drugs to support his own addiction.

Lloyd was convicted last September of three counts of possessing crack, methamphetamine and heroin for the purpose of trafficking.

The 25-year-old from Alberta has 21 prior convictions, including a 2012 trafficking charge.

Under new federal drug laws, a repeat offender like Lloyd is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of one year but Galati found that minimum constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

The Crown is expected to appeal the sentence.

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