Osama Nawaz was sentenced Tuesday to 16 months in jail for trafficking crack cocaine from Ontario to the NWT.

Osama Nawaz was arrested on July 3, 2019 for trafficking 19.8 grams of cocaine from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to Inuvik. He is also charged with possession of a weapon for having a knife concealed in his pants at the time of the RCMP raid.

Illegal drugs, $4,360 in cash, a knife and other items seized by Inuvik RCMP on July 3, 2019. Photo courtesy of RCMP

In delivering his ruling, Territorial Court’s Chief Judge Robert Gorin first said he was “not sure what to make” of the 279 hours of community service Nawaz had completed while on bail, but later said he was impressed by the hours.

Gorin said that while has seen counselling taken on ahead of sentencing, he has never had a case where community service was presented as a mitigating factor.

The hours Nawaz has spent, mostly loading boxes and shipments at a Muslim community centre in the GTA, “speaks volumes to his level of remorse,” Gorin said.

Gorin also noted Nawaz’s young age and lack of prior record in his ruling, which fell between Crown and defence lawyers’ recommendations.

Gorin characterized the 19.8 grams as “not high-level but certainly not insignificant either.”

He said that Crown Prosecutor Jeffrey Major-Hansford’s submission of 18 months was reasonable, but pointed to the defence’s argument that a lengthy period of incarceration could leave the offender worse off rather than assist in his rehabilitation.

Anything less than 16 months, however, Gorin said would not be sending an adequate message of deterrence to others. He emphasized the seriousness of the trafficking offence, telling Nawaz that drug trafficking is not a victimless crime.

“Trafficking in a hard drug can have a devastating effect in communities where it’s carried out,” he said. “It’s not a victimless crime at all.”

Nawaz told that court that he “takes full responsibility” for his actions and hopes to make positive changes once released.

Natalie Pressman

Reporting courts and cops and general news, Natalie started with NNSL Media in 2020. Before moving to Yellowknife, Natalie worked as a community radio trainer in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First...

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