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Expensive friend

Man guilty of trafficking

Kevin Wilson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 11/01) - Despite no drugs changing hands, a 35-year-old man pleaded guilty to trafficking Thursday in territorial court.

One half-day's court time had been set aside to hear Wayne Sigurdson's case, but at the last minute, he switched his plea from not guilty to guilty.

Just prior to the reversal, Sigurdson's lawyer Kelly Payne asked Judge Brian Bruser to remove her as the accused's attorney of record, citing a "conflict which had arisen."

Before accepting the guilty plea, Bruser asked Sigurdson if he wished to consult a lawyer, or if he'd been pressured into pleading guilty.

"No," replied Sigurdson, adding that, "I just want to get this over. It's affecting my job."

Court learned that on August 26, a civilian agent of the RCMP was given $520 and directed to go to the Gold Range bar in attempts to purchase marijuana and cocaine. A short while later the agent encountered Sigurdson in a diner and inquired about purchasing a quantity of marijuana.

The agent gave $350 to Sigurdson who then left.

He returned and returned the money, saying he was unable to come up with anything.

Sigurdson was charged with trafficking in a substance held out to be marijuana.

Crown Attorney Debra Robinson called for either Bruser to impose a sentence ranging from "a high fine to a short, sharp (jail) sentence to denounce this kind of behaviour."

Speaking for himself, Sigurdson said, "I know I made a mistake...I was trying to help out a friend."

Before imposing a $1,000 fine, plus $150 victims of crime surcharge, Bruser told Sigurdson that his was "an expensive friendship".