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Kelowna drug trafficker's jail sentence reduced

A drug trafficker who failed earlier this year in his bid to have his conviction overturned has had his sentence reduced.

The Court of Appeal, in a decision posted online on Tuesday, reduced Brent Nagy’s jail sentence to four years from the original five and a half year sentence imposed in 2011, saying the initial sentence “offended the totality principle.”

Nagy’s drug convictions date back to August, 2006, when police investigating suspected drug trafficking at a Kelowna marina observed Nagy park a truck, remove an item from a knapsack and hand it to a man in a different vehicle. The vehicle was stopped by police and a one kilogram brick of cocaine found inside. The trial judge determined that the item Nagy handed off was the cocaine, and convicted him of trafficking, the Court of Appeal summarized in their decision.

The second conviction, for possession for the purpose of trafficking, dates to events later that month, when Nagy, then 29, was followed from Kelowna to the Lower Mainland. When police stopped his vehicle, they found two kilograms of cocaine in the truck.

Nagy was sentenced to two and a half years on the trafficking count and three years for possession for the purpose of trafficking, to be served consecutively.

On appeal, Nagy argued that the trial judge failed to consider his rehabilitation—which appeal justices disagreed with—and that the judge failed to take into account the totality principle. Because of that, Nagy argued, the total sentence is “unfit.”

“ While the individual sentences were appropriate, it is my view that the judge erred in failing to consider the full impact of making the sentences consecutive,” wrote Court of Appeal Justice Harvey Groberman in a decision agreed with by Justice Anne MacKenzie and Justice David Frankel.

“The judge had a duty to consider the overall culpability of Mr. Nagy,” he added.

“In my view, given the short period over which the two crimes occurred, Mr. Nagy’s overall culpability, and his successful efforts to change his lifestyle, a global sentence of five and a half years is too harsh and is unfit,” wrote Groberman.

Groberman reduced the sentence for trafficking to one year. That reduced the total length of the sentence for both offences to four years.

By Cheryl Wierda, Capital News contributor

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