A man who pleaded guilty to his first drug trafficking charge received a sentence on the lower end of what the law recommends.
Samuel Ratchford, 32, was sentenced to six months in jail for a charge of trafficking methamphetamine from Judge Hermann Seidemann III Nov. 9.
He was granted 1.5 days of credit for each of the 76 days he already spent in custody, pre-trial, leaving him with 69 days to serve in jail.
Seidemann told Ratchford he was being given “a bit of a break, I’ll tell you that sir.”
“Although it’s your first drug offence, your criminal record is not unsubstantial,” said Seidemann, adding that a sentence of six months is at the bottom end was appropriate, but could have been bumped up. The law states a first-time drug trafficking charge garners a sentence of six to nine months.
On Aug. 24, 2017 as part of an ongoing drug investigation, Terrace RCMP General Investigations Unit executed a search warrant on two residences in Thornhill and found cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as other evidence consistent with drug trafficking, reported police at that time.
Ratchford was charged with one count of Trafficking a Controlled Substance, and two counts of Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Before Seidemann passed sentence, Ratchford addressed the court.
“I’ve been in and out of the courts for a number of years now. I realized a couple of things. I’m not really a bad person. I’ve made bad decisions that are no one’s fault but my own, I need to take responsibility for,” said Ratchford, adding that being in Terrace and around certain people and drugs have influenced him to make bad decisions.
He told court he had a job and a place to stay already arranged elsewhere.
“I plan on leaving and realize what I did was against the law. I did a lot of criminal activities in the past and it’s come to a point I can’t do it anymore. I’ve come to the point I realize I’ve got to change. I apologize to the court for taking up your time.”
Ratchford’s defence lawyer Paul McMurray said his client has a drug addiction that stretched back many years with multiple substances.
His client had other sources of income but started trafficking to help fund his addiction.
McMurray suggested that with credit given for time served, his client was nearing four months into his sentence and may qualify for an early release, as the convicted are often released after only two-thirds of their sentence is served.
“You are trying to double count time served and that’s not going to happen,” said Seidemann, adding Ratchford had spent 2.5 months in custody and with time served, the total was four months.