July 19th, 2024

Lengthy probation ordered for proceeds of crime conviction

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on May 10, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 28-year-old Lethbridge man caught more than a year ago with drugs and cash has avoided jail, but not probation.
Brettan James Neill received a suspended sentence and 18 months probation after he pleaded guilty in Lethbridge provincial court to one count of possession of the proceeds of crime.
Court was told Monday that police began an investigation in September 2020 after receiving information about suspected drug trafficking at a northside residence.
Police watched the residence for three days in October, and on Oct. 7 during a traffic stop, they arrested Neill, who was a passenger in the vehicle. They searched Neill’s residence, and found drugs, as well as $4,121.
“Mr. Neill acknowledges that he was in possession of that cash, and that it was obtained from the commission in Canada of an offence,” Federal Crown Prosecutor Mark Klassen said.
During the first nine months of his sentence and probation, Neill must obey a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day. The only exceptions to the curfew is for medical emergencies or if he has to work.
He must reside at a specific address, abstain from consuming or possessing drugs, and not possess any weapons. He must also be assessed and take counselling, and provide 35 hours of community service.
Calgary lawyer Kaysi Fagan, who, with the Crown, jointly recommended the suspended sentence, said Neill’s offences were “tremendously out of character for him,” and he is deeply remorseful. She said he has not had any “adverse” contact with the law since he was arrested, and he does not have a criminal record with similar offences.
Fagan pointed out there were significant triable issues that would have caused some difficulty for the Crown had the matter gone to trial, including the grounds for arrest, the search warrant, and the excessive amount of time it would have taken before it went to trial.
“The bottom line is, the Crown made an offer that my client could not refuse,” Fagan said.
She also noted her client has since gained some insight to his crimes.
“I’ve had a lot of time to reflect, almost two years now, and I have no interest in ever being in a courtroom ever again,” Neill said.

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