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Court briefs


New trial ordered for alleged drug dealers

The lawyer for a man charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana for the purpose of trafficking said there is a real possibility she will file a Charter of Rights and Freedoms application claiming her client has been denied his right to a speedy trial.

“Do the math. It will have been more than four years since my client was charged before this case goes to trial again,” said Kate Oja, outside Supreme Court on Monday.

Her client, Richard Shushack was charged in March 2014. The case against him temporarily fell apart on Nov. 21 after a mistrial was declared. He is charged along with another Yellowknife man – William Simpson.

It was learned in court on Monday that the earliest the case can begin to be be re-tried is July 23 of next year. It will begin with jury selection.

Both Shushack and Simpson were on trial together when the mistrial was declared by Supreme Court Justice Shannon Smallwood after several days of testimony.

The mistrial application was filed after both defense lawyers learned that a potentially important piece of evidence was inadvertently withheld from them by the Crown.

The evidence, known as Crown disclosure, established a link between Simpson and a third man whose fingerprints were allegedly found on a bag of marijuana found in a Hudson House apartment.
Prosecutor Annie Piche called the withheld disclosure an administrative mistake. Piche made it clear after the mistrial that the case would return to court.

Simpson and Shushack are charged jointly after one kilogram of cocaine and 25 kilograms of marijuana were discovered in the apartment. The drugs were reportedly discovered after firefighters were called to the apartment in response to a ringing smoke detector.

Man sentenced for providing crack to undercover officers

A Yellowknife man was sentenced to ten months in jail Monday after he pleaded guilty to trafficking in cocaine last year.

Darwin Grandjambe was sentenced by Justice Louise Charbonneau in Supreme Court after he was charged in the RCMP's anti-drug initiative dubbed Project Green Manalishi.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Grandjambe facilitated the purchase of crack cocaine for two RCMP undercover officers three times in March 2016. Court heard officers met Grandjambe at a bar, gave him money and asked him to get them cocaine. Later that month the officers twice phoned Grandjambe, asked him to again buy cocaine for them met him and gave him cash.

All three times, Grandjambe provided the officers with less than a gram of cocaine. Both Crown prosecutor Duane Praught and Grandjambe's lawyer Peter Harte agreed that Grandjambe was not a drug dealer and that he simply helped purchase the cocaine in order to get a small amount for himself.
Fraught had asked for a 15-month sentence while Harte said nine months in jail would be appropriate.
Harte added that Grandjambe suffered an atrocious upbringing that accounted for his long criminal record, his history of violence and his drug and alcohol addictions.

“His conduct is consistent with that of an addict,” said Charbonneau as she sentenced Grandjambe. “As a child, Mr. Grandjambe was exposed to things he shouldn't have been including fights and alcohol.”
Grandjambe seemed relieved by the sentence.

“I am just happy to be alive. Now I can sleep and eat,” he told the judge. My family now knows I will be under a safe roof.”

Man gets part of bail money back despite breach

A man will receive $400 of his $1,000 bail despite breaching his bail conditions.
Leon Tsetta, 48, was out on bail in April when he breached his bail conditions by consuming alcohol and forfeited the $1,000.

Court heard he had jumped in a cab and said he would pay with his debit card. Possibly because he was intoxicated at the time, court heard, he could not remember his bank card number.

So the cabbie drove him to the RCMP detachment where he was lodged in cells and charged with breaching bail conditions. He ended up serving five months in custody.

In Supreme Court on Monday, Justice Louise Charbonneau ordered $400 of the $1,000 be returned to Tsetta, in part, because of the five months he served in jail.

The original charge was eventually stayed. Charbonneau encouraged Tsetta to use the money to pay bills, particularly his power bill to make sure he had heat during the winter.