Kamloops dial-a-dope dealer evades justice for six years, avoids prison - InfoNews

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Kamloops dial-a-dope dealer evades justice for six years, avoids prison

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
August 05, 2020 - 5:30 PM

A former Kamloops man, who fled B.C. for six years before his trial has avoided a jail sentence because his life changed significantly in that time and he's no longer leading a criminal lifestyle.

That's typically what judges are looking for — a likelihood of rehabilitation — but not usually like this.

Daniel James Colligan was charged with three counts of trafficking when undercover officers called his cellphone number and asked for a cocaine drop-off. The three drops occurred during February 2011. He was later arrested and his trial was set for October 2013, but he did not appear.

Despite fleeing justice for six years, Colligan will be able to maintain his current lifestyle in Alberta where he now holds a high-paying job and is a family man.

The court heard that Colligan’s father was extremely abusive, and once Colligan jumped on his father to stop an attack. The then five-year-old Colligan was covered in his mother’s blood, and his father, facing a charge of attempted murder, fled.

After separating from a second abusive partner, Colligan’s mother turned to social services to help her with her “hyper” son. She thought it would be a temporary change but Colligan would remain in foster care for the rest of his youth. He was disconnected from his Metis heritage and became addicted to substances by 13 years old.

The court heard that teenage Colligan was addicted to cocaine, marijuana and alcohol and was selling drugs to make money. He aged out of foster care at 18 years old and with several probation orders, and by 19 he was using crystal meth.

Colligan met his current partner in 2012 and moved to Edmonton to get away from his life of crime and the cycle of being in jail. At that time he had seven youth and 15 adult convictions, and moving away to avoid a trial was considered as a factor when Marchand delivered the sentence.

While in Alberta, his partner became pregnant and Colligan wanted to turn his life around. He enrolled in Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous and landed an oil-industry job where he now earns $180,000 a year and is the sole earner for his partner and two young children.

Colligan was ready to take any sentence he was given to move forward with his life. The Crown noted that a conditional sentence order was an option for Colligan’s 2013 sentencing, and recommended a step up in sentencing due to Colligan’s absence. The Crown suggested Colligan face two years of actual jail time due to the seriousness of the crimes, and to discourage others from fleeing their court dates in hopes that improving their life would lessen a sentence.

Justice Len Marchand weighed several of the factors in sentencing. He discussed Colligan’s lengthy record and serious crimes, but also noted it is clear his life has turned around and incarcerating him would leave his children without their father and could jeopardize his employment.

“Mr. Colligan, you should not have left British Columbia to evade justice, but I congratulate you on making such fundamental changes in your life. I am sure that was not easy to do. I know that the (Conditional Sentence Order) I have imposed will significantly restrict your liberty for a long time, but that is necessary in view of the seriousness of your offences and behaviour. At the same time, there are terms in the (order) to support your recovery,” Marchand said in the decision.

Colligan will serve two years of a conditional sentence within his community and must not leave B.C. or Alberta during the sentence. He is only allowed to leave his property for work and other compelling reasons, and only with written permission from his probation officer. For the second year of the two year sentence, he will only need to abide by a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Throughout the entirety of the conditional sentence, he must abstain from drugs and alcohol and will have to take counselling for addictions or trauma as required by his probation officer.

Click here to read the full decision.

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