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Advocacy group against mandatory minimum drug sentencing

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A provincial court judge’s recent ruling against mandatory minimum drug sentencing is being defended by a Downtown Eastside advocacy group.

For its part, the federal government stands by mandatory minimum sentencing, saying it was brought in to target gangs and not addicts.

The Pivot Legal Society‘s Adrienne Smith says sure, but it’s happening anyway. “It’s clear from our perspective, being on the ground in the neighbourhood, that the Harper government is out-of-touch with what’s happening, particularly in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.”

In this recent case, Judge Joseph Galati refused to abide by mandatory minimum sentencing for a low-level dealer who was trafficking to support his own addiction. “Jail is not an appropriate solution to what is predominantly a health problem,” adds Smith.

The judge found it was unconstitutional.

An appeal is expected.