Pubdate: Fri, 11 Aug 2006
Source: Observer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006, OSPREY Media Group Inc.
Author: Neil Bowen
Bookmark: (Youth)


A judge expressed concern about marijuana trafficking at Sarnia high 
schools Thursday when he imposed sentence on two 17-year-old students.

One was selling pot in the cafeteria of Northern Collegiate and the 
other was caught with 20 grams in his backpack in the smoking area at 
St. Clair Secondary.

Its mind boggling in a school setting, said Justice Mark Hornblower. 
Thats not what school is for.

One teen was jailed briefly and returned to court in handcuffs 
following a 20-minute recess.

Its all I can do, said Justice Mark Hornblower, who was frustrated by 
his sentencing options.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, judges are discouraged from 
jailing youths. Department of Justice documents state that 
incarceration is overused, giving Canada the highest youth 
incarceration rate in the western world.

Hornblower said he respects the principles of the act, which favour 
rehabilitation and probation, but sometimes it just doesnt seem 
enough, he said.

Hornblower said students might be getting the message its OK to sell 
drugs at school because the only punishment handed out is probation.

Drugs are one of the biggest causes of crime, and the abuse begins 
with traffickers, he told one of the teens.

Its people like you who create problems for many of us.

Both youths were placed on probation for 12 and 15 months and ordered 
to perform 100 hours of community service.

The first pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana for the purpose 
of trafficking May 31 at Northern. He was spotted exchanging items 
and money with a female student at a cafeteria table, within 20 feet 
of two vice-principals. When confronted, he produced a plastic bag 
containing more than 10 grams of marijuana.

Defence lawyer David Stoesser said the student comes from a good, 
stable family, was suspended from school, and is anxious to return in 

The second youth was seen engaged in suspicious activity in the 
smoking area at St. Clair. When a vice-principal asked him into the 
office, marijuana was found in his backpack along with scissors, 
cigarette papers and a set of scales.

The teen pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana for the purpose of 
trafficking and violating a probation order.

Both youths might have been jailed had they been a year older. An 
adult trafficking drugs at schools could expect a sentence of three 
months, said federal prosecutor Michael Robb.

Outside the court, Robb said police are continuing efforts to remove 
drugs from schools by conducting undercover surveillance and using 
drug-sniffing dogs.
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