Jail could save man’s life, Terrace, BC court hears

In jail the man will have access to drug treatment programs

GOING to jail could save an addict’s life if he takes advantage of the treatment programs available to him.

Supreme court judge Mr. Justice Neill Brown told Rodney Kerr, 52, that during his reasons for sentencing here May 10.

“In my view, a custodial sentence could well save his life,” said Brown about sentencing Kerr.

Kerr was sentenced to 14 months in jail and  two years on probation after a jury found him guilty of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking May 9 following a three-and-a-half day trial.

Sentencing was delayed a day because Kerr was nowhere to be found when it was time to pass sentence.

Brown then issued a warrant for his arrest and Kerr was picked up by police around 5:30 p.m. that night and held in custody for a May 10 sentencing date in court.

Kerr could not be contacted by defence lawyer Ken Anderson, as Kerr had been having cell phone problems, court heard during the sentencing hearing.

On December 10, 2010, police placed a call to a dial-a-dope number and arrested Kerr, who made the delivery to them, court heard.

Anderson said during his submissions for sentencing that Kerr was not involved in the drug trade for profit but rather, as the court heard from the evidence, he was an addict himself and was involved to support his own habit.

“He has determined to better himself and get off drugs,” said Anderson.

In his mid-20s, Kerr had used cocaine and had stopped in his 30s for about 15 years and then started up again when his common law relationship of 16 years ended in 2007 and his mother passed away, said Anderson.

Brown noted that it appeared Kerr was still addicted and that he had not sought rehab or counselling to deal with it since the charge was brought against him.

Dial-a-dope operations make access to drugs easier, introduce young people to drugs and increase the incidence of addiction, said Brown.

“Dial-a-dope operations are nothing less than an evil destructive, scourge in our community,” he said.

A sentence must accomplish its objective, which in this case is sending a strong message to the community that if you are in a dial-a-dope operation you will receive a significant court sentence even if you’re a low level dealer, said Brown.

Kerr’s probation conditions include not having any contact with his drug cronies for the first three months after his release and after that time only with the permission of his probation officer.

Kerr must not consume any controlled substances or drugs without a proper medical prescription and not consume alcohol.

“All right Mr. Kerr, I really think this is going to be a lifesaver for you,” said Brown.

“If you carry on your current path, you could very well be dead in a couple of years,” he said.

Brown said by taking advantage of the addiction treatment in jail, Kerr could leave jail much healthier than when he went in.