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SENTENCING - Controlled drugs and substances - Possession of proceeds of crime - Laundering proceeds - Particular sanctions - Conditional sentence - Sentencing considerations - Deterrence - Denunciation

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 @ 8:07 AM  

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Appeal by the Crown from the sentence of a conditional discharge and three years’ probation imposed on the respondent for possession of proceeds of crime and money laundering. The respondent’s husband was a significant supplier of illegal drugs. The illegal activities financed the respondent’s extravagant lifestyle. The respondent alleged she did not know that the money and assets were obtained illegally. The combined incomes of the respondent and her husband were nowhere near sufficient to afford the assets and lifestyle the couple enjoyed. The respondent did all of the banking for the couple, depositing in excess of $245,000 into their three main accounts. The sentencing judge noted that the respondent was aware of the husband’s prior convictions and at least some of his illegal activity for many years.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The sentence was varied to a conditional sentence of two years less one day. The sentencing judge erred in considering the forfeiture of the assets as a punishment. As there was no evidence on the record to suggest what, if any, harm would result from the respondent having a criminal record, the sentencing judge’s desire to ensure that the respondent did not have a criminal record was misplaced. The sentencing judge failed to give the proper weight to the requirement to denounce the respondent’s involvement in the money laundering operations and to provide general deterrence to other persons who might consider becoming involved in the laundering of drug money or possession of proceeds of crime. Sentence: Two years less one day’s conditional sentence.

R. v. Garnett, [2017] N.S.J. No. 144, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, D.P.S. Farrar, J.E. Scanlan and E. Van den Eynden JJ.A., April 28, 2017. Digest No. TLD-May292017005