Appeal from a global sentence of 3 years and 5 months (including other drug and weapons offences) on the basis that the trial judge erred in categorizing a “holding out” offence in the same sentence range as trafficking fentanyl. Appellant was convicted of trafficking in fentanyl. He sold a substance represented to be fentanyl to an undercover officer. The substance, in fact, was not a controlled substance.

Held: Appeal allowed; sentence reduced to 2 years’ jail.

Court of Appeal rejected the Appellant’s argument that he knew what he was selling was not fentanyl. However, the Court agreed that “by relying on trafficking cases in which real drugs were involved, the sentencing judge overstated the appellant’s moral blameworthiness resulting in a sentence that was demonstrably unfit for this offence: R v Lacasse, 2015 SCC 64”. There was no evidence that the Appellant was involved with actual fentanyl to any significant degree. Given this, and the fact that there was no actual narcotic sold, proportionality called for a lower sentence.

P. Sankoff – Defence Counsel