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Randy Potts, who has since left the notorious biker gang, deserved a sentence of five years for his role in the drug ring

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Randy Potts, who has since left the notorious biker gang, deserved a sentence of five years for his role in the drug ring - not the 12 months handed to him last year by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Peter Leask.

The court also gave Potts a year credit, effectively increasing his sentence four-fold to four years.

Last August the appeal court more than quadrupled the sentence of Potts co-accused John Punko, who Leask had given 14 months.

Leask had credited both men against their sentence because of the police tactics used in the undercover operation, dubbed E-Pandora.

But Appeal Court Justice Anne Rowles said the actions of police, who used undercover agent Michael Plante to infiltrate the East End Hells Angels, did not take away from the seriousness of the crimes admitted.

"I am of the view that neither the gravity of Potts' drug offences nor the degree of his responsibility in committing them was diminished by Plante's actions, taken at the direction of or with the complicity of the police," Rowles said.

"The fictions and deceptions in which Plante and the police engaged with Potts cannot mask or diminish the gravity of the methamphetamine conspiracy offence to which Potts pleaded guilty."

At the time of the trafficking charges both Potts and Punko were members of the East End Hells Angels. Potts has since left the biker gang.

Potts pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce methamphetamine, as well as trafficking in cocaine and unlawful possession of proceeds of crime in December 2009 when Leask handed him the unusually short term.

Rowles said Leask erred in taking a piecemeal approach to the original sentence and putting too much weight on mitigating factors like the police sting.

"A conspiracy such as this one is a despicable endeavour which causes very substantial harm within society," Rowles said.

Leask has said Potts was not a sophisticated criminal, but an addict who was getting his Percocet from the police agent. And he said the cocaine sales that led to the charges were "stage-managed by police."

But Rowles pointed out that "it is clear from the wiretap evidence that Potts, independent of Plante, had a supply of cocaine with which to make the two sales. Potts received $32,800 from the sale of the cocaine."

Rowles said Leask's sentence for Potts " was not proportionate to the gravity of the drug offences and to Potts' degree of responsibility in committing them."

"In this case, the need to emphasize deterrence and denunciation ought to have been the predominant consideration in sentencing for the drug offences, given the serious nature of those offences and the circumstances in which they were committed," she said.

Crown Prosecutor Martha Devlin argued before Rowles and Justice Lowry and Hinkson last September that Leask made several serious errors when sentencing Potts.

And she said the sentence should be consecutive, not concurrent, something Rowles rejected in the appeal decision.



Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Appeal+court+quadruples+trafficking+sentence+former+Hells+Angel/4110081/story.html#ixzz1B42cSaKfDISCLAIMER:Text may be subject to copyright.This blog does not claim copyright to any such text. Copyright remains with the original copyright holder.

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A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

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