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Crack dealer gets another chance
Judge allows man to attend Calgary treatment centre instead of jail

Daniel Campbell
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A notorious drug dealer will be allowed to complete his addictions counselling instead of heading to jail, a judge ordered Monday.

Richard Bain, 55, pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine Dec. 10. According to facts agreed upon by defence and prosecution, he was caught up in an RCMP sting operation after he sold crack-cocaine to an undercover officer on two separate occasions March 10, 2012.

RCMP arrested Bain on March 29 after they confirmed the substance he sold them was crack-cocaine.

Confidential informants tipped off RCMP, telling them Bain was selling crack-cocaine out of his room at the Northern Lites Motel.

Crown prosecutor Jennifer Bond said Bain was "well-known" to locals as a dealer, saying he was "entrenched" in the trade. She added he has a lengthy criminal record, with "uninterrupted" criminal convictions since 1975.

Most of Bain's convictions involve drug possession and petty thefts, Bond said. Bain was convicted on two separate occasions of stealing hundreds of dollars of meat from local grocery stores, once in 2005 and again in 2010.

Bond asked the courts to impose a one-year jail sentence on Bain.

Thomas Boyd, Bain's defence lawyer, said his client has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction since his pre-teens. He said Bain has been taking part in treatment at the Fresh Start Recovery Centre in Calgary for the past five months.

The southern addictions centre is one of four earmarked by the territorial government for use by Northerners after the NWT's only addictions centre in Hay River closed last fall.

"The GNWT has made a substantial investment in Mr. Bain's recovery," Boyd said, noting the government has pledged to pay for Bain's treatment.

He added his client might be the first success story coming out of the newly-contracted southern treatment centres.

Bain, heavy-set and wearing a dark suit jacket, told the court he is working hard to fit back into the community. He said the Calgary-based treatment centre has shown him hope.

Justice Karan Shaner deliberated on Bain's sentence for an hour before deciding late Monday afternoon. She said crack-cocaine has "ravaged" Yellowknife and made the city unsafe.

"This drug is so insidious and dangerous, which is shown in Mr. Bain, who has almost nothing to show for all his years," she said.

Instead of jail, Shaner said Bain - and society in general - would benefit from him serving a sentence which includes house arrest.

Shaner sentenced Bain to a one-year conditional sentence, which he can serve while completing treatment in Calgary. He'll also be required to complete 150 hours of community service.

Before closing court, Shaner said she wants to send a message to the community that drug trafficking is never acceptable, but that the courts would support addictions treatment.

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