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Delays should figure in drug sentence: defence

May 05 2012

Jason Thomas Conrad waited more than four years to be charged for mailing 280 grams of cocaine to an associate in New Brunswick, his defence lawyer said Friday in B.C. Supreme Court.

Victoria lawyer Rory Morahan asked Justice Doug Halfyard to consider the prejudice of pre-charge and post-charge delays in Conrad's case when he imposes a sentence on him for three counts of drug trafficking.

In November 2011, Conrad pleaded guilty to trafficking drugs through the mail on Aug. 29, 2006, and to delivering three packages of cocaine - two packages of powder weighing a total of 431 grams and a third package of crack cocaine weighing 54 grams - to the same associate on Oct. 26, 2006.

Conrad, now 32, also pleaded guilty to placing an order for five kilograms of cocaine on Sept. 28, 2008. The shipment was seized by police as it was being driven off a ferry.

Conrad was arrested that day. Federal prosecutor Peter Eccles has asked the court to impose a 10-year sentence, a DNA order and a lifetime weapons prohibition. Morahan is asking for a six-year sentence.

The Crown's case is based on Conrad's intercepted communications in 2006 and August to October 2008 when police were investigating a group of large-scale cocaine traffickers on Vancouver Island.

Conrad, who was a kilogram-level cocaine dealer in 2008, ordered five kilos from a Vancouver supplier at a price of $215,000. Ultimately, police seized ninekilograms of cocaine and made a number of arrests.

Morahan said his client admits he was involved in criminal activity in 2006 and did sell drugs. However, he became so scared he lived in a hotel for two weeks. Unfortunately, Conrad became involved in drugs again.

"It was a very bad decision," Morahan said. "It was a significant decision which harmed the community and he recognizes that now."

In the past three years, since the birth of his child, Conrad has begun to change.

He takes full responsibility for the offences, Morahan said.

"There's an opportunity for rehabilitation here, based on a period of time. Change is not something that happens overnight."

The best protection for the community is rehabilitation, Morahan told the court.

Conrad was living on the street at the age of 12. His father engaged him in shoplifting, Morahan said.

"With that beginning, one could only expect his criminal record."

The sentencing hearing is expected to continue Wednesday.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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