Pubdate: Thu, 17 Dec 2009
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Sam Pazzano
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Incarceration)


Ontario's Court of Appeal rapped the knuckles of a Brampton judge
yesterday for saying the country's pot laws are "insane" and jail
sentences don't stem the tide of marijuana use.

The appeal court said Judge J. Elliott Allen was "bound by the law" and
should have imposed a jail sentence instead of 12 months of house arrest
on a major marijuana producer in Brampton.

Judges aren't permitted to let their personal views colour their
sentences, wrote Justice Michael Moldaver of the Court of Appeal.

Allen made it clear he has "little use" for jail sentences for marijuana
offences, Moldaver stated.

Allen declined to give jail time to Zeyu Song, despite his admitting he
ran a grow-op with 1,400 plants and stole $14,000 worth of hydro.

"Nobody has been deterred. People have been going to jail for drug
offences for -- for a couple of generations now and the drug -- the drug
plague is worse than it ever was," Allen said.

Outlawing pot has made billionaires out of the Hells Angels motorcycle
gang, Allen said.

The grow-op offender had no previous record and Allen saw no benefit to
society for jailing him.

"The chances of a Dutch teenager smoking marijuana are substantially lower
than they are of an American teenager smoking marijuana. And the Dutch
teenager can walk down to the corner and get it at a coffee shop," Allen

A judge cannot ignore the principles of the Criminal Code, he wrote.

But the higher court refused to send Song to jail because he had already
served his conditional sentence.
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