No weekend sentence for drug dealer

Steve Sharratt comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on March 3, 2016

Kings County Provincial Court, Georgetown.

GEORGETOWN - A small-scale pot dealer with hopes of serving weekends in jail saw his wish go up in smoke after he failed to curb his personal indulgences.

Chief Judge Nancy Orr was considering the merits of such a rare sentence in provincial court after being told Bradley Joseph Manning had no prior record, worked at a seasonal fish plant and was the caregiver to his three-year-old daughter while his partner was employed.

But weekend jail time was dashed when the judge suggested she would be setting the accused up for failure.

“You continue to use (pot), so how will you pass the 72-hour restriction (having no alcohol or drugs in your blood upon arriving at the jail)?” asked the judge.

“I’m not sure,’’ responded the 28-year-old, who pleaded guilty.

“I would have thought you would have got clear of using it if you really wanted the court to consider weekends,’’ she said. “You’re asking me to set you up for a breach (failing the test).”

The judge said it could have been a different story had Manning stopped smoking pot a month ago when he first appeared to answer to the charge. She sentenced him to three months in jail.

The Souris man told the court he only sold to a few friends and never to young people. Court was told Manning was found with scales, 22 grams of marijuana and a bit of cash when police entered his residence last fall.

He grew up in foster care, was remorseful for putting his family at risk and used pot to relieve stress.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that until the law is changed it is still illegal,’’ said the judge. “At some point I would think people who sell should expect they might lose their job, their EI and affect their family. You didn’t want this to happen, but you are risking all of this, and you’ve put me in a position where I can’t give you weekends.”

Manning will also spend two years on probation and be required to fulfil 100 hours of community service.