It was either good timing or bad, depending on one’s perspective.
A Surrey man has been sentenced to two years less a day after being found guilty of possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
Amanpreet Singh Gill, 33, accidentally dropped a one-kilogram brick of cocaine in front of police outside his home as they came to serve a warrant on him.
Justice Terry Schultes, at B.C. Supreme Court New Westminster, noted in his reasons for sentencing that on Dec. 3, 2014 two Mounties went to Gill’s house in Surrey to issue a warrant related to a drug investigation on Vancouver Island.
The officers found him outside the home and told him why they were there. When he told them he needed to go inside to tell his brother, they told him not to, but he carried on and they grabbed hold of him to arrest him.
“In the course of that process, an envelope fell from him,” Schultes noted. “It contained a one-kilogram brick of cocaine.”
The court heard the cocaine was valued at about $51,000, or $100,000 if sold by the gram.
Gill has a criminal record for assault with a weapon and forcible confinement.
“To his credit, however, there is a gap in offending of about six years between those offences and this one,” Schultes noted.
His lawyer told the court Gill began moving drugs to help pay for his fiancee’s care after she suffered a brain aneurysm and this went on for about a year and a half, during which time he paid $1,500 monthly for her care.
The Crown sought a four-year prison sentence while the defence argued for the maximum provincial jail term of two years less a day followed by two years’ probation. Jail terms of two years or more are served in federal prison.
“While the altruistic motive for his involvement in this offence does not lessen the need for denunciation and deterrence, it still distinguishes him to a degree in terms of his moral blameworthiness from someone with the sole motive of profit,” Schultes found. “The dangerous effects of cocaine are well known, as is the need to reflect society’s collective condemnation of trafficking in it and deter those who might be disposed to get involved by imposing significant sentences. However, the prospects of rehabilitation, when they are realistic, can have a meaningful moderating effect on the sentences that would otherwise result.”
Besides sentencing Gill to two years less a day in prison and two years probation, Schultes also ordered him to do 75 hours of community work.
“I pause to say I consider this an opportunity for Mr. Gill to pay something back to the community that he has harmed by this activity,” the judge explained.