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full-patch member of the Hells Angels will have to serve out his nearly five-year jail term for drug-trafficking

Sunday, 3 April 2011

full-patch member of the Hells Angels will have to serve out his nearly five-year jail term for drug-trafficking after losing a bid to appeal the sentence to Canada's highest court.

In December 2009, John Virgil Punko pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamines, trafficking in cocaine and possession of the proceeds of crime.

The guilty plea came after the trial judge, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Peter Leask, had thrown out a criminal-organization charge against Punko and his co-accused, Randy Potts.

In March last year, Justice Leask imposed a 14-month jail term for Punko but the federal Crown, which had sought a much stiffer sentence, appealed the ruling.

In August last year, the B.C. Court of Appeal imposed a 62-month jail term for Punko, who then sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

A key issue on appeal was expected to be whether the conduct of a police agent in the case should have been a mitigating factor on sentencing. The police agent had supplied Punko with Percocets, steroids and cocaine, despite knowing Punko was addicted to drugs.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the sentence appeal without costs.

The federal Crown also appealed the stay of the criminal-organization charge against Punko and the B.C. Court of Appeal has allowed the appeal.

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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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