Cocaine crime nets P.E.I. woman 30 months in jail

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Scales of justice

A judge sentenced a 29-year-old Ten Mile House woman to 30 months in prison for possession of cocaine with the purpose of trafficking and for two weapons offences.

Provincial Court Judge Nancy Orr gave two concurrent sentences of 30 months to Valerie Anne Burke for the offences.

Burke will serve 21 months after being giving credit of 1.5 days for each day already served while remanded in custody for the past six months. Burke is also prohibited from possessing any firearms for the rest of her life.

Orr says in reaching the sentence she took into consideration Burke's guilty plea as well as Burke's past-related criminal record that dates back to 2008.

The judge considered Burke's possession of 26.4 grams of cocaine for the purposes of trafficking very serious, noting this is not a victimless crime.

"On a regular basis...we see the impact drugs are having on our community,'' Orr said in handing down the sentence.

The judge also found quite concerning Burke's possession of a 22-calibre rifle and bullets in a residence in a Ten Mile House that were not properly secured and also represented a breach of a firearms prohibition.

Burke's lawyer told the court his client is "hurting inside'' and that she "wants to move on with her life.''

Standing in court before the judge, Burke apologized to the court, her family and society "for my actions''.

Burke, also known as Valerie Anne MacArthur, was arrested in July after police executed a high-risk search of a home at Ten Mile House and uncovered both drugs and weapons.

A justice of the peace ordered Burke be detained because of the risk she posed to public safety, her prior criminal record, the seriousness of the offences she was charged with and the likelihood of further criminal activity if released.

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