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Terminal cancer patient jailed for dealing crack
Judge tells drug-trafficking grandfather he's fortunate he didn't get more time behind bars

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE
A 60-year-old grandfather who was diagnosed with prostate cancer while awaiting trial at the North Slave Correctional Centre, has been sentenced to two years less a day after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

After pleading guilty, Ambrose Jobin told court he is deeply sorry for his crime before being sentenced by Judge Garth Malakoe in territorial court on Thursday.

Court heard RCMP raided Jobin's Hamilton Drive home on March 18 of last year and seized 208.7 grams of crack cocaine. Two other men remain before the courts on charges stemming from the raid. Court heard that cellphones, cash, debt sheets and a digital scale were also recovered during the execution of the search warrant.

Jobin has been in custody since that day, meaning he will have about 205 days left to serve.

Court heard Jobin was a street level dealer who allowed his home to be used by cocaine wholesellers, also known as food bosses, as a place to conduct their illicit business.

Court heard while police were inside the residence executing the search warrant, the phone rang several times with callers looking to buy crack.

Jobin's lawyer, Tu Pham said Jobin, who has lived in Yellowknife, Fort Smith and Edmonton over the years, has admitted to a cocaine addiction. Pham said his client was merely assisting the larger dealers by providing them a place to operate from while working as a runner who was paid in cocaine to support his habit.

He also told the court that Jobin's cancer prognosis is not good and likely only has another three to five years left to live.

"He was taken advantage of by three men from Alberta," Pham told the court.

Pham said although Jobin knew there was cocaine inside his house, he had no idea how much of it was actually being stored there. He also pointed out that Jobin has struggled with addictions for decades and added he grew up in a household where alcohol abuse and violence were prevalent.

Both Pham and Crown prosecutor Brendan Green told the judge they would be satisfied with a sentence of time served but Green added a sentence of two years less a day would also be appropriate.

In sentencing Jobin, Malakoe noted he has 61 prior convictions, including 15 involving drugs, although none for drug trafficking since 2001. He said he was sympathetic toward Jobin and his terminal illness but the judge it would not be unusual for someone in possession of that much cocaine and with Jobin's criminal record to be sentenced to three to four years in prison. Malakoe said a clear message must be sent to drug dealers that they will face a heavy punishment, something he said many young people have found out the hard way.

"The North is a very tempting market for drug traffickers. But cocaine causes ravages and devastation and often leads to break and enters and robberies," Malakoe said.

"Cocaine is also heard about in family court and in child welfare cases."

Malakoe encouraged Jobin to spend time with his family and granddaughter in particular once he gets out of jail in order to help make the most of the time he has left.

Jobin was prohibited from carrying a cellphone upon his release and can only have up to $100 on him at any given time.

Jobin did not appear upset that he had to go back to jail, telling his lawyer he was satisfied with the sentence.

Outside court following the sentencing, Green said he was also fine with the sentence.

"It's a fair sentence. It's a unique case in particular Mr. Jobin's health situation," said Green.

"It's a difficult balance to strike but I think the court struck a very reasonable balance."

Pham said he felt his client was dealt with fairly.

"There is always going to be disappointment when you don't get what you are asking for," said Pham.

"The judge appropriately distinguished between someone who is trafficking out of addiction versus someone who is doing it out of greed. Mr. Jobin was in the former category."

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