Despite ‘series of misfortunes’ Nanaimo drug trafficker gets six months in jail

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A Nanaimo man who suffered a “series of misfortunes in his life” has been sentenced to serve six months in jail for heroin trafficking.

“(Those misfortunes) no doubt contributed to his decision to engage in narcotics trafficking,” said Nanaimo provincial court Judge Ted Gouge in sentencing Trevor Lee Sihota.

Gouge noted that although Sihota has “the loving support of his family … (the) countervailing factor is that narcotics trafficking is epidemic in British Columbia, and particularly in Nanaimo. Many lives were ruined by the drugs sold by Mr. Sihota.

“The primary objective of sentencing in cases of narcotics trafficking must be to do whatever can be done to stop or reduce the incidence of the offence.”

The 35-year-old Sihota, who had no criminal record, pleaded guilty to one count of heroin trafficking after police found nearly 43 grams of heroin, valued between $4,700-$6,000, in his apartment.

Sihota began using alcohol at age 13, marijuana at age 15 and cocaine at age 19. In his late 20s, he began using crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine and GHB, and attended a drug treatment program four times.

“However, the treatment programs were ineffectual,” added Gouge in his Dec. 19 judgment. “He was arrested for the present offence on March 7, 2013, at age 32. In relation to that offence, (Sihota) said that he ‘ … began selling drugs to make money, but because his own drug use escalated, it eventually became a matter of just trying to pay for the drugs that he and his girlfriend were using.’ ”

Gouge said Sihota suffers from the results of several concussions and a psychiatric disorder. After being discharged from the Psychosis Program at the University of B.C. hospital in 2015, he was described as a “low risk for future violent offences.”

Gauge noted that Sihota attends regular meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous and that his AA sponsor speaks highly of his attitude, although he describes him as being “… in the early stages of his recovery.”

Gouge said that “at the end of the day, there must be circumstances that are above and beyond the norm to justify a non-custodial sentence.

“In this case, I think that the importance of denunciation and deterrence outweighs that of rehabilitation, and that a six-month jail sentence is appropriate and necessary.”

Sihota was also given 18 months’ probation, during which time he cannot have any alcohol or drugs, and was ordered to take any counselling program referred by his probation officer.

bmorton@postmedia.com

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