Former Vernon Viper receives conditional discharge for drug possession | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Former Vernon Viper receives conditional discharge for drug possession

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February 13, 2019 - 3:00 PM

KELOWNA - A former Vernon Viper received a conditional discharge at court today for possessing heroin and fentanyl.

Kevyn Kirbyson, 30, played with the BCHL's Vernon Vipers in the 2005-2006 season. He appeared in Kelowna court today, Feb. 13, to hear his sentence after he pled guilty to three counts of possessing controlled substances and one count of failing to appear in court.

The charges stemmed from a series of arrests over seven months in 2018 throughout Kelowna and Merritt.

Crown lawyer Bryan Fitzpatrick said on Apr. 26, 2018, Merritt RCMP responded to a report of a single-vehicle accident on the Coquihalla Highway. The driver, Kirbyson, was placed in an ambulance and taken to a hospital with injuries. Paramedics at the scene discovered a baggy with a white powder on Kirbyson's person, which was later found to be three grams of heroin and fentanyl.

Fitzpatrick stated on July 10, police received reports of a suspicious vehicle parked on Bernard Avenue in Kelowna.

Officers attended the scene and learned the vehicle was stolen. They observed two men emerge from a nearby building. One of them was Kirbyson, who surrendered himself to police. He was placed in a police car and taken to a cell. When police checked the backseat of the vehicle where Kirbyson had sat, they found three large rocks of fentanyl weighing 7.4 grams in total.

Fitzpatrick said Kirbyson was scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 11, but he failed to do so.

On Nov. 28, Kirbyson's birthday, Fitzpatrick said police were conducting surveillence of a known problem residence in Kelowna. Kirbyson exited the residence and police detained him with outstanding warrants. They found him carrying 6.5 grams of fentanyl along with small amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine.

Kirbyson's lawyer Tiffany Zanatta said her client is a hard worker who's been employed for most of his life.

She said Kirbyson's wife divorced him in 2017 and she lives with their three-year-old daughter in Vancouver. The divorce was hard on Kirbyson and he accidentally snorted fentanyl which he thought was cocaine, causing him to overdose. He was treated as an addict in the hospital, which got him addicted to prescription drugs and ultimately led him to heroin.

Zanatta said Kirbyson got clean, but eventually relapsed. She said he's working to get sober and has support from his family in the area. He plans to get into a detox program and hopes to mentor children so they avoid going down a similar path.

Judge Monica McParland said Kirbyson was lucky he wasn't charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking given the large amounts of drugs he carried. She noted his obvious remorse and desire to get clean as mitigating factors.

"Minor hockey is an awful lot of hard work," she said. "It speaks to the determination you should be able to bring to rehabilitation."

Judge McParland sentenced Kirbyson to a conditional discharge with 12 months of probation.

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