Sentencing pondered on drug trial

A Kelowna justice will have the weekend to decide what sentence two men found guilty of drug offences and being a member of a criminal organization will face.

Justice Geoffrey Barrow is set to sentence Thomas Fraser, who is in custody, and Jason Herrick, who is on bail, on Monday.

It would bring to a close a lengthy trial that got underway about a year ago and has included legal wranglings about whether wiretaps of the accused could be used as evidence, accepting a police officer’s voice identification of Fraser after allegations of Charter breaches, and an argument for a stay of proceedings based on the time it took to get the case to trial.

Fraser, Herrick and others fell under police investigation back in the summer of 2006 and investigators were led to believe Fraser was the head of an organization that trafficked cocaine.

The Crown, at trial, theorized that Fraser arranged for the purchase and delivery of one or two kilograms of cocaine at a time, which was then distributed primarily by Herrick to other people said to be members of the criminal organization.

At times, Fraser would also just “flip” kilograms of cocaine.

Back in December, Fraser and Herrick were found guilty of trafficking cocaine.

Fraser was also found guilty of instructing a criminal organization, while Herrick was found to have committed an offence for the benefit of a criminal organization.

Submissions by Crown and defence lawyers on the proposed sentence concluded Friday afternoon, with Barrow reserving his decision until next week.

The sentencing hearing saw the Crown seeking a 16 year sentence for Fraser—11 for trafficking and five for the criminal organization charge.

He has been in custody for some four years, and lawyers debated how much credit he should receive for time already served. (He is eligible for two-to-one credit for time served prior to sentencing as his offences occurred before legislation that did away with double credit was enacted).

Fraser’s lawyer has apparently suggested a jail sentence of six years for the trafficking and one for the criminal organization charge.

The Crown, meanwhile, is seeking that Herrick serve an 11-year jail sentence—eight for trafficking and three for the criminal organization charge. It’s not known what sentence Herrick’s lawyer is asking for.

The sentencing is set to happen Monday afternoon.


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