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Seven years in prison for deVries
Iqaluit drug trafficker and pedophile will get credit for 11 months served in jail prior to sentencing

Casey Lessard
Northern News Services
Published Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nunavut Chief Justice Robert Kilpatrick sentenced marijuana trafficker and confessed pedophile Ed deVries on June 6 to seven years in a federal prison for drug trafficking and sexually abusing children.

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On June 6, marijuana crusader and pedophile Ed deVries received a federal prison sentence of seven years less 11 months for time served after pleading guilty to drug trafficking and child sexual abuse charges. - Casey Lessard/NNSL photo

The sentence matched what was requested by the Crown. The defence won a minor victory, though, getting additional credit for time served since deVries was arrested Sept. 9, 2011 – due to substandard conditions at the Baffin Correctional Centre. In light of that credit, he will serve a total of six years and 34 days.

Kilpatrick's written decision came almost two weeks after deVries made a plea deal that meant his three victims, all minors, would be "spared the necessity of having to relive their ordeals in a public setting," Kilpatrick wrote.

DeVries pleaded guilty May 24 to trafficking drugs, possessing marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, four counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference related to incidents involving girls under 16.

Kilpatrick condemned deVries for repeated sexual attacks over several years on three girls aged 10 to 16, noting that deVries groomed the oldest and most frequently abused victim by telling her such intimacy was normal.

"The frequency of the sexual contact with this victim underlies a deliberate and ongoing pattern of abuse," Kilpatrick wrote. "These many sexual offences cannot be explained by substance abuse. There is no suggestion that Mr. deVries was intoxicated at any point during the commission of these offences. It is the willful assumption of the risk of harm, together with the accompanying breaches of trust that raises many of these sexual offences to the highest level of seriousness."

However, by entering guilty pleas and showing "genuine remorse," deVries earned substantial credit, Kilpatrick wrote.

Crown prosecutor Jeanette Gevikoglu and defence lawyer Alison Crowe went into the sentencing hearing agreeing deVries should receive a total of two years plus a day for the two drug charges. They did not agree on how long he should serve for the sex offences or how much credit he should get for time served. Gevikoglu argued for five years, while Crowe said he should serve three. Gevikoglu did not believe deVries deserved special credit for time served.

Noting children in Nunavut are 10 times more likely than other Canadian children to suffer sexual abuse, Kilpatrick said his sentence had to include a measure of deterrence. Three years, as suggested by the defence, was not enough to rehabilitate deVries, he wrote.

"There is not one incident of inappropriate sexual contact to consider – there are many. There is not one young person victimized, there are three. All the victims in this case were vulnerable because of their size and age. They had a right to be protected, not victimized," Kilpatrick stated.

DeVries will be listed on the Sex Offender Registry for life.

In a pre-sentence report, deVries stated that he had grossed $2 million in cannabis sales over 10 years, about a third ($679,842) of that in one year operating the Qikiqtaaluk Compassion Society (QCS).

Records seized showed QCS made a profit of about 27 per cent, Kilpatrick said.

"The offence was premeditated and well planned," Kilpatrick wrote. "This is the hallmark of a criminal enterprise. These were not offences committed by someone in the heat of passion."

He noted that deVries' persistent efforts to sell drugs, while claiming religious and society status to take advantage of legal protections, underline his likelihood of reoffending.

"There does not appear to be any real remorse associated with the guilty pleas for the drug offences," Kilpatrick wrote, noting deVries' apologies during sentencing related only to the sex charges. "Mr. deVries remains an outspoken critic of Canada’s drug laws, at least in so far as they relate to cannabis."

He noted deVries' sophisticated drug operations "significantly contributed to social dysfunction within Nunavut," where at 1,039 offences per 100,000, the cannabis offence rate is almost five times the national average.

The prison sentence means deVries, a former jail guard, can look forward to leaving Baffin Correctional Centre, where he has been since his arrest Sept. 9, 2011.

Speaking at the sentencing hearing, he complained about the conditions, which he says have been detrimental to his health. He spends most of his day in a six-bed cell that often exceeds its capacity, where he watches TV and reads.

DeVries' medical problems include angina, COPD, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, hardening of the arteries, and bursitis. He told the court that the living conditions and lack of access to health care at BCC have contributed to those problems. While at BCC, deVries once suffered a series of small strokes, "had a bad blockage in an artery" near his heart, and had to be taken to the University of Ottawa's Heart Institute. He takes 19 pills a day for his various problems, 13 of which replace his medical marijuana, he said.

An extra 20 pounds gained since his incarceration haven't helped, especially considering he only gets about 30 minutes of physical activity a day, he said.

"Overcrowding has placed severe restrictions upon the institution’s ability to provide adequate space for both recreation and programming," Kilpatrick wrote.

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