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Judge ponders drug sentence in light of rehabilitation effort

A Penticton man will spend another 10 months behind bars in spite of his attempts at rehabilitation.
December 29, 2014 - 1:26 PM

PENTICTON - A Penticton man will spend another 10 months behind bars despite his attempts to rehabilitate himself.

Penticton Provincial Court Judge Gale Sinclair pondered the dilemma finding a proper sentence for 27-year-old Dwayne Lee Gabriel upon hearing of his rehabilitation efforts following two drug offences which took place in 2012.

Federal Crown Prosecutor Ashleigh Baylis said an undercover police officer contacted Gabriel on Nov. 23, 2012 by text message, to purchase cocaine. They met in the Penticton Safeway parking lot where $100 was exchanged for .71 grams of cocaine. A second buy was set up in the same parking lot at a later date when the undercover officer bought 1.44 grams for $200. Gabriel was charged with two drug counts, including trafficking in a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

In a separate incident, on Sept. 14, 2014, police responded to gunshots in the Peach Rock Road area and identified Gabriel as one of a number of men in a vehicle nearby.  After being identified, he was arrested on breach of recognizance charges. During the arrest, police said they found .27 grams of cocaine and he smelled like liquor.

Defence lawyer Kathryn Lundman presented a letter to the court from Gabriel in which he accepted responsibility for his crimes, telling the court, “this is not the example I want to set for my family.”

He wrote he completed several programs involving substance abuse, managing withdrawal and violence prevention, and his daughter's birth in November made him realize he could not continue the life he was leading.

Sinclair said he faced “a conundrum” in sentencing someone who has already rehabilitated himself. A pre-sentence report said Gabriel was doing well, but had a slip-up, which Sinclair said is, "something to be expected from addicts.”

Sinclair also said Gabriel’s letter to the court displayed a "sense of maturity and remorse for the life he has lived.”

For the two drug offences, he was ordered to spend 12 months in prison and 45 days for breaching probation as well asa lifetime firearms ban and forfeiture of his cell phone.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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