While the Crown prosecuted the case to the full letter of the law, a Corner Brook judge granted a conditional discharge to a man charged with possessing marijuana as the date for the legalization of cannabis draws nearer.
Judge Wayne Gorman of the provincial court said he could not agree fully with Crown attorney Adam Joyce’s submission that the future legality of cannabis was irrelevant to the case against Kyle Harold Keogh.
Keough had entered a guilty plea to the charge that stemmed from an incident at Western Memorial Regional Hospital last September. Keough had admitted to owning a book bag found by hospital security which contained a plastic baggie with 188 grams of pot in it and two digital scales.
Keough is 19 and has no prior convictions.
Joyce, who noted the amount of marijuana in the bag was significant, had asked for a $1,000 fine and a period of probation. Joyce felt this was not an appropriate case for a discharge.
Keough’s lawyer, Amber Haighway, suggested a conditional discharge and probation, including a condition that Keough make some sort of charitable donation, was appropriate because of the nature of the offence and the imminent ending of its general criminality.
Gorman ruled that, while the amount of cannabis was significant, the offence did not constitute trafficking. Further, he noted it is clear that possessing marijuana is no longer an offence requiring public condemnation in Canada and Keough should not have a conviction entered on his criminal record for this offence.
Gorman, who noted Keough was not in a financial position to make any sort of charitable donation as part of the sentence, did place him on 12 months of probation and ordered him to pay a victim fine surcharge of $200.