War on drugs continues
Judge requests figures from Crown, RCMP

by Chris Meyers Almey
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 28/97) - Just what a territorial court judge has in mind once he's armed with statistics on the North's drug trade remains to be seen.

But Michel Bourassa, who has become well known for his hard-line stance on illegal drugs, seems to be stepping up the war he began last November.

He wants the Crown, with the help of the RCMP, to put a dollar figure on the amount of drugs that have been seized in the territories.

The judge made his request after sentencing Leroy Lawrence Leblanc, 23, to three months in jail Tuesday for selling marijuana in the Gold Range.

RCMP charged Leblanc with the crime last Nov. 22.

Born in Yellowknife, Leblanc has four criminal convictions on his record, but none for drugs until now.

Crown attorney Sandra Aitken said someone tipped off the RCMP, and when they searched Leblanc, found 23 grams of marijuana worth $280, plus $121 cash. Leblanc admitted selling $20 packets of the drug.

Bourassa noted the court is seeing more seizures of drugs than before and speculated about the value of all the seized contraband.

"I'd like to know some day and hope the Crown can offer that to the court," he said.

Bourassa started a war on drugs last November when he sentenced a man to 30 days in jail for possessing, but not selling, cocaine.

The man had been arrested in the downtown last September with four grams of cocaine worth $560.

The defence lawyer at the time said a fine would be in order while the Crown asked for a 30-day sentence.

But Bourassa sent the accused off to jail and told the Crown she should have asked for a 60-day sentence.

That's when the judge advised the Crown the court will now take a harsher approach to cocaine.