British Columbia

Judge catches drug dealer lying about his references

Deven Jainesh Mani gave a speech for the ages at his sentencing. Too bad it wasn't true.

Judge says Deven Jainesh Mani's lies erase claim to remorse that came with guilty plea

A B.C. provincial court judge was not impressed with Deven Jainesh Mani's attempts to bolster his references with falsehoods. (Canadian Press)

Deven Jainesh Mani gave a speech for the ages at his sentencing for drug dealing.

The 23-year-old presented glowing letters from employers including one who said he was being considered for a promotion.

Having a "real job" had taught him what it's like to "actually work hard," he said. And boy did it feel great.

"I'm proud of myself for the big changes I've made today," Mani told the court.

"It feels good spending hard-earned money on groceries, bills, clothes, I know I worked hard for."

But then the Crown started calling some of those references. And Mani's words — not to mention his resume — started to ring hollow.

"The owner of the auto body shop advised the Crown that he did not know Mr. Mani and that Mr. Mani had never worked at the shop," Judge Reginald Harris wrote in a B.C. provincial court decision last month.

No promotion, no soccer club

Harris handed Mani a sentence just shy of 22 months for two counts of possession of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking and one count of failing to stop while being pursued by police.

Although Mani pleaded guilty, Harris found that "any suggestion of remorse was erased when Mani falsely addressed the court" in February.

Mani claimed to be a volunteer with his stepfather's soccer club. But the Crown couldn't find any evidence it existed. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

In addition to the letter from the auto body shop, Mani also provided a reference from a furniture company, which said he was in line for a promotion.

But as Harris pointed out, that job turned out to have ended in October 2017.

"The letter filed with the Court had been altered from the one originally given to Mr. Mani," Harris wrote. 

"A paragraph indicating that Mr. Mani was about to receive a promotion was added, thus making it appear that he was working there and excelling."

Even submissions about Mani's volunteer work with his stepfather's soccer club could not be substantiated.

"The Crown contacted Surrey Parks and Recreation and spoke to the person responsible for assigning field times to various clubs," Harris wrote. "The person had never heard of the St. Columbus soccer club."

'Less than typical'

Mani was sentenced in relation to three offences.

The first was a Port Coquitlam arrest that occurred after the jeep Mani was driving ran a stop sign. The second occurred in Vancouver when he fled police, ran a red light, collided with two cars and then tried to run away.

In both situations, police found drugs in the vehicles. On his second arrest, they located more than 150 individually wrapped bags full of cocaine and fentanyl.

Mani did not have a criminal record at the time of the first offence and has a good relationship with his mother. Harris noted that his crimes were motivated by greed as opposed to desperation or addiction.

"Mr. Mani's sentencing hearing was less than typical," Harris said in explaining the sentence.

"In the circumstances … I cannot find that his guilty plea was connected to any feelings of remorse."

In addition to a total sentence of 21 months and nine days in jail, Mani was also given a year's probation and a two-year driving prohibition.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Proctor

@proctor_jason

Jason Proctor is a reporter in British Columbia for CBC News and has covered the B.C. courts and the justice system extensively.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now