Lawyers for a man who pleaded guilty to a series of drug and firearms charges in connection with a May 2016 police raid on a White Rock home say their client should not be sentenced to more than seven years for the crimes.
Their suggested jail term – consecutive to a seven-year sentence he is already serving in connection with a Vancouver matter – would give Frederic Dwayne Wilson time to turn his life around, defense counsel Marvin Stern submitted Friday.
“It’s a difficult ship to change course,” Stern acknowledged to the court, referencing a background rife with criminal activity but rooted in a severely difficult childhood.
“But he’s motivated at this point of his life.”
However, the prosecutor in the case – for which a sentencing hearing got underway in Surrey Provincial Court Thursday – suggested a term double to what defense is suggesting would be more fitting.
In asking Judge Alexander Wolf to impose a consecutive sentence of 14 years, Crown Edlyn Laurie noted the 48-year-old’s extensive criminal history; that fentanyl was involved, at a time when B.C. was experiencing a public health emergency through related overdoses; the “sheer quantity” of ammunition seized; actions that were “predatory in nature”; and that Wilson has been deemed a high risk to re-offend should all be considered.
“He chose to be entrenched in a criminal lifestyle for most of his adult life,” Laurie said. “The seriousness of the offences have escalated up to this point.”
Wilson pleaded guilty a year ago to four of 15 “drug and firearms-related” charges that were announced the month after the raid, which targeted a home in the 800-block of Parker Street.
Last June, the court heard that the drug charges pertained to possession of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking. Laurie said at the time that more than five kilograms of cocaine was seized from the home, along with more than three kilograms of heroin and fentanyl.
The court also heard at that time that Wilson pleaded guilty to possessing a loaded Smith and Wesson, and three unloaded guns “with readily accessible ammunition.”
His guilty pleas were entered the same week that an eight-day trial had been scheduled to begin.
On the day of the raid, Mounties’ Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, with assistance from White Rock RCMP and the Lower Mainland District Emergency Response Team, descended on a blue, two-storey house around 5:30 p.m.
Police said the next day that the tactic followed an investigation that began “a couple months” prior. Two people – Wilson and a 31-year-old woman – were arrested at the home and subsequently charged with multiple offences, including possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Friday, Stern told the court he has represented Wilson on criminal matters “on and off” since the early ’90s, and that recent revelations regarding his childhood are significant to his pattern of behaviour.
Wilson has also only recently discovered his “significant aboriginal roots,” Stern added, in reference to a Gladue report that was conducted for the court proceedings.
Laurie acknowledged Wilson’s “unfortunate and disadvantaged upbringing,” but said the completion of a Gladue report should not mean “an automatic discount” on sentencing.
“He is somebody who is able to get legitimate employment and is not somebody who was deprived of opportunities,” she said.
This week’s proceedings were expected to wrap up this week, and Wolf is expected to reserve his decision to a later date.
Charges against the woman who was arrested with Wilson are expected to be dropped after Wilson is sentenced.
According to court records, a date for Wilson’s sentencing is expected to be set July 11.
In the meantime, proceedings launched by the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office in August 2016 to seize the Parker Street house remain ongoing. A trial date on that matter has been set for Sept. 23, 2019, in Vancouver Supreme Court.