Judge dismisses police entrapment in drug dealing case

·1 min read

A man remains guilty of selling drugs outside a Prince George convenience store after his lawyer failed to convince a judge he was entrapped by undercover police officers posing as customers.

Douglas William Gibbs was arrested and charged after he sold heroin-fentanyl and methamphetamine for cash to the officers on Aug. 29 and 30, 2018 outside the 7-11 at 20th Avenue and Spruce Street.

The officers were from out of town and had been brought in as part of an investigation that, at first, did not include the spot. At issue was whether RCMP had reasonable suspicion to send in the officers.

During a trial last month, defence counsel Connor Carleton argued the grounds for the action were "too vague and soft." In particular, he noted that in the lead up, an RCMP officer noticed suspicious activity but could not confirm an actual transaction had taken place nor provide a date for the sighting.

In a decision issued Monday, Provincial Court Judge Peter McDermick agreed that on its own, it was not enough to justify the move but noted it was not the only reason the undercover officers were deployed to the spot.

People involved in drug trafficking and drug use were starting to spend time at the location, there were overt signs of intoxication by some of the people seen, drug paraphernalia was found in the parking lot and nearby alley and police were getting calls to the spot several times a day for drug-related issues, the court had heard.

"This was an address are or near the top of all calls for service," McDermick said.

Sentencing will occur at a later date.

Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen