Lawyer says time spent on bail is penalty enough for cocaine trafficker

The lawyer for a Yellowknife woman found guilty of trafficking cocaine said the woman should be sentenced to time served even though she has not served any time in jail.

Prosecutor calls for 8-month jail sentence for 52-year-old Yellowknife woman

A display of drugs, cash and merchandise seized by RCMP as part of Project Green Manalishi. The investigation targeted 2 drug rings in Yellowknife distributing cocaine and fentanyl. (Garrett Hinchey/CBC)

The lawyer for a Yellowknife woman found guilty of trafficking cocaine said the woman should be sentenced to time served even though she has not served any time in jail.

Steve Smith made the argument during the sentencing hearing of Serenus Charlene Bryan in Yellowknife on Thursday. The Edmonton defence lawyer said Bryan should get a day of credit for every three days she's spent out on bail.

Bryan has been on bail for 20 months since being arrested as part of the RCMP's highly successful Green Manalishi drug investigation. The 52-year-old was convicted in November, after her trial in which the jury heard 22 telephone conversations between her and drug kingpin Todd Dube that were secretly recorded by the RCMP.

Bryan remained out on bail after her conviction. Under her bail conditions, she has had to remain in the Northwest Territories and observe a curfew from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

At her sentencing hearing on Thursday, Bryan told Justice Karan Shaner that, as a result of the bail restrictions, she missed her brother's funeral, the birth of her granddaughter in Nova Scotia and could not be at her 77-year-old mother's side as she underwent lung surgery.

Bryan told the judge she did not start using drugs until age 25, but after she did she "basically spiralled out of control." Smith said Bryan was addicted to cocaine and opiates.

Bryan said she wants to go to a residential drug treatment program.

"I just want to deal with it once and for all and be done with it," she told the judge. "It's cost me so much in my life. I still feel I have a lot to contribute."

Prosecutor Duane Praught said Bryan should get no credit for time she's spent on bail. He said the courts have said that's only justified in cases where bail conditions are very strict, such as when someone is under house arrest, confined to their homes.

Praught called for an eight-month jail sentence.

Justice Shaner said she will give her decision on Feb. 5.