Chief Provincial Court Judge John Douglas says six of seven defendents on docket addicted to opiates.
People driven to commit criminal offences in order to finance their addiction to opiates dominated much of the docket in provincial court Wednesday.
Chief Provincial Court Judge John Douglas noted that of seven people on the docket that morning six were addicted to opiates.
One such case, described by Douglas as tragic, involved a 24-year-old Charlottetown woman who committed a string of thefts and other offences to finance her addictions.
Sarah Catherine MacDonald had no prior criminal record when she stole purses, cellphones and cheques to get money for the drugs her body craved.
She was also found in possession of stolen property.
In court Wednesday Crown Counsel Gerald Quinn said MacDonald was out of control when police arrested her for committing multiple property offences.
He said being arrested has proven to be a good thing for the accused because it has removed her from a situation that was progressively getting worse.
Quinn said since being housed at the provincial correctional centre MacDonald has seen her health improve.
The accused has also realized she has a lot of changes to make to improve her life and has begun to make changes.
Those changes include working towards completion of the courses needed to get her GEDs.
She has also accepted responsibility for her actions and apologized for what she has done.
Douglas noted that MacDonald started experimenting with prescription drugs in school and that experimentation eventually led her to criminal activity.
He said he was encouraged by the steps she has taken since being remanded in custody on these offences and believes there is hope for her rehabilitation.
Douglas said the best protection for the public in this case would be MacDonald's rehabilitation.
Douglas suspended the passing of sentence on a number of charges Wednesday but agreed with the Crown that MacDonald did require some additional time in custody to help her prepare a solid release plan for the day when she is released back into the community.
Douglas sentenced MacDonald to concurrent sentences of 60 days on several theft-related offences.
Upon release she will also be placed on probation.
While on probation she is to make restitution to the victims of the offences she committed and write formal letters of apology.
Douglas told MacDonald he also wanted to see her complete her GEDs and continue her education.
Bethany Trainor, of Charlottetown, was sentenced to 60 days in jail for stealing merchandise from Sherwood Drug Mart.
A further 30-day sentence was imposed for breach of probation.
She will serve that sentence on an intermittent basis on weekends.
In addition to the time she will spend in custody Trainor will spend 18 months on probation.
While on probation she will be required to undergo assessment, counseling and treatment, if required, for the use of alcohol or drugs or any other underlying issue that may have contributed to the commission of these offences.
She must also make restitution to Sherwood Drug Mart for the items she took.
The court was told that Trainor has made some progress in her efforts to turn her life around.
She is attending Holland College and has obtained employment.
But the court was also told that she lacks motivation in some areas, like keeping appointments.
The court has requested confirmation of both her educational pursuits and her employment.