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DeVries pot case close to resolution

Casey Lessard
Northern News Services
Published Monday, May 14, 2012

A resolution may come this month in the case against marijuana crusader Ed deVries, 53. His lawyer Alison Crowe asked the court May 7 to set a date for a sentencing hearing, which will take place May 24.

He faces seven counts of drug possession, one of drug trafficking, four of possessing property obtained through crime, one of trafficking of property obtained through crime, one count of child pornography, eight counts of sexual interference with a minor, two of sexual exploitation, and 14 sexual assault charges relating to incidents in Iqaluit and Iglulik over the last decade.

"We have agreement, I believe, on all the outstanding charges," Crowe told the court by telephone, requesting a half-day hearing.

DeVries was expected to enter pleas on some or all of the 40 charges he faces May 7, but none were entered. In April, Crowe told the court she was hoping to make a deal that would clear the way for deVries to make a Constitutional challenge against the drug charges he faces.

"Just to be clear," Chief Justice Robert Kilpatrick asked, "all files involving this citizen are to be in court (May 24)?"

"Ms. Crowe's taken the position that she wants it all sentenced together," said Crown prosecutor Jeanette Gevikoglu, who appeared on behalf of chief federal prosecutor Barry Nordin. The Crown and defence have reached agreement on the facts of the case, Gevikoglu said.

The charges stem from three raids on the Church of the Universe sanctuary at deVries' Iqaluit home in August 2009, on the Qikiq-taaluk Compassion Society, a medicinal marijuana society in Iqaluit in January 2010, and on his home in September 2011.

He and another man were arrested after the January 2010 raid, during which police seized two pounds of marijuana, $7,200 in cash, a GMC Yukon and trafficking materials from two Iqaluit homes. In the process of the seizure, it's alleged police found child pornography.

DeVries remains in custody at the Baffin Correctional Centre, where he has been held since Sept. 13, 2011.

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