Article by Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight
Phillip Francis McGee didn’t deny that he was a partner in a grow-op with more than 600 marijuana plants in his Surrey rental home.
When it came time to be sentenced in 2016, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Terence Schultes accepted evidence that McGee likely received $20,000 per crop.
The RCMP told the court that two previous crops had been grown by the time McGee was busted in 2013.
But Schultes refused to impose the mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years years on the 60-year-old, who had no prior criminal convictions.
According to Schultes’ ruling, this violated section 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It declares that everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual punishment.
Instead, the judge imposed a 10-month sentence.
Today, a three-judge B.C. Court of Appeal panel upheld that earlier B.C. Supreme Court ruling that a three-year sentence for growing more than 500 marijuana plants violates the charter.
The panel in B.C.’s highest court declared that Sections 72(2)(b)(v) and 72(2)(b)(vi) “are declared to be inconsistent with s. 12 of the Charter“.
This means that no one with more than 500 pot plants who’s charged in B.C. will face this mandatory minimum sentence of three years unless the ruling is overturned in the Supreme Court of Canada.
And that appears highly unlikely because that the Supreme Court of Canada almost never hears cases when the appellate court ruling is unanimous
“Mr. McGee has successfully completed his 10-month sentence,” wrote Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein in today’s decision. “In my view this sentence is at the very low end of the range suggested in the case authorities.