HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Defelice Released From Prison Pending Appeal
Pubdate: Thu, 20 Nov 2008
Source: Nelson Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Nelson Daily News
Author: Colin Payne
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)

Note: The newspaper does not have an active website.


HOLY SMOKE: Pot advocate who was sent to prison last month after
lengthy trial currently free and says 'political nature of his
sentence' now more clear

After being sentenced to one year in prison on October 14, Holy Smoke
Culture Shop co-owner Paul DeFelice has been released from Kamloops
Regional Correction Centre since October 22, pending an appeal on his

Don Skogstad, lawyer for DeFelice said his release wasn't opposed by
the federal crown and he was released with few conditions until his
appeal is heard sometime early next year - at which time he'll go back
to prison while he awaits the outcome of his appeal case.

But according to DeFelice five days he spent in KRCC proved to be
quite a harrowing experience.

In a letter to the Nelson Daily News, DeFelice said upon arrival at
the prison, he was placed in a maximum security wing amongst hardened

"It was small consolation to find while I was in prison that I was the
only one there for a pot offense," he said.

"All the other inmates on my range were in there for cocaine and/or
crack dealing, or for committing crimes to pay for their cocaine
and/or crack habit.  Most of them had long rap sheets and multiple
breeches (of probation), were organized into gangs - and still were
getting nowhere near a year in jail.

"The political nature of my sentence became quite obvious to

DeFelice said many people in the community may not recognize him now
because he was forced to shave off his long dreadlocks in prison.

"At KRCC I was immediately exposed to a methicillin resistant staph
outbreak and the wrath of some tough inmates who didn't like my
waist-long dreadlocks and braided beard," he said.

"I realized further that prison showers wouldn't allow me to clean and
maintain my locks properly, so I made a life-changing decision.  I
allowed a fellow inmate to shave my whole head."

DeFelice also said he would like to thank the community for the
support it gave him during the trial, and Skogstad for filing his
appeal in record time.

Skogstad said he thinks the sentence DeFelice got was excessive for
someone who's never spent any time in jail before, and he expects to
be successful in getting the sentence reduced in the appeal.

As to the conviction appeal which has also been filed, Skogstad said
it's trickier because it's a new area of law and the case is unique to

Co-accused Akka Annis has also been released from his sentence of 40
days in the local lockup served on weekends, pending an appeal.

The other two co-accused, Alan Middlemiss and Kelsey Stratas face
sentencing on December 23.

Skogstad said he doesn't expect Judge Don Sperry to change his mind by

"I expect the judge will be fairly consistent in his sentencing,"
Skogstad said.  "I don't think he'll suddenly change his mind about
what he should do. I think these guys will have their toothbrushes

Skogstad said there are also plans to appeal these sentences.
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