katanna-hi

Katanna MacDonald, 20, died in 2012 after overdosing on methadone.

A 22-year-old Annapolis Valley woman has been sentenced to 18 months of house arrest for selling methadone to a friend.

Kelsey Leanne Pynch, of Aylesford, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a charge of trafficking. She admitted to selling methadone to Katanna MacDonald twice in the days before MacDonald was rushed to the Valley Regional Hospital suffering from a drug overdose in June 2012.

MacDonald's heart stopped and she died after she was taken off life support. She was 20 years old.

Pynch was initially charged with criminal negligence causing death, but the Crown determined it couldn't prove MacDonald's death was caused solely by the drug she bought from Pynch

"I cannot sentence this offender for that tragedy," provincial court Judge Alan Tufts said in court on Monday.

"There is no dispute that the methadone contributed to Katanna MacDonald's death." 

The Crown had asked Pynch be sentenced to a custodial sentence in jail.

"It's a jail sentence," defence lawyer Don Fraser said outside court.  "It's not, as the judge said, 'enhanced probation' It's a jail sentence." 

But MacDonald's family was visibly angry as members filed out of court.  They refused immediate comment.

Fraser defended the sentence. "She's under very strict conditions.  If she breaches those conditions, she can be put back into jail and forced to serve the rest of her time in jail."

"This is a very tragic circumstance for everybody," Fraser said.  

For the first 12 months of her sentence, Pynch will be confined to her home for all but a few hours a week.  Following that, she will be under a curfew for six months, followed by 18 months probation.

Tufts also ordered Pynch to perform 250 hours of community service.  She must also provide a DNA sample and she is forbidden to own weapons. She is also no longer allowed to take methadone doses home with her.

Pynch's house arrest is being lifted for two days this week so she can visit with family on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.