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Man accused of handing lit joint to child

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services

Hay River (Nov 01/04) - A Hay River man has been charged with trafficking after handing a lit marijuana cigarette to a 10-year-old boy, police say.

According to the RCMP, the boy stopped into a residence near his home on Oct. 24 to visit the accused, whom he knew. After a few minutes, the boy was offered the joint.

"The boy said he took a drag, it made him dizzy and he threw it on the ground," said Const. Michael Carter, the investigating officer.

After the boy told his parents what had happened, his mother contacted police. The parents asked police that they not be identified.

William Sagriff, 23, has been charged with trafficking marijuana under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 30.

"The parents are very disturbed and very upset with this individual," Carter said, adding they wanted action to protect their child.

As part of his investigation, the officer asked exploratory questions to determine the boy's level of knowledge.

"I felt confident the boy was telling me the truth in what he observed," said Carter.

Carter notes there are "additional investigative measures" being taken to validate the boy's story. However, he would not go into detail.

The alleged incident has left even the Mounties shaking their heads.

"Nothing shocks me anymore, but there are still things that make me angry," says Sgt. Greg Downing of the Hay River RCMP.

Downing explained that under the law, giving marijuana to someone is considered trafficking.

"It's even more aggravating when the subject is only 10-years-old," he said.

Downing notes the RCMP warn children about the effects of drugs and advise them to let their parents know if anyone tries to sell or give them drugs.

Advice for parents

Carter is not sure how often such events happen in Hay River.

"It may be more often than we'd like to believe," he said.

His advice to parents is to tell their children not to take anything from adults.

Carter says he has never encountered such a case involving someone so young.

"I find it quite disturbing," he said.