A Saskatoon Hells Angels member will spend a year in jail for offering to sell a police informant cocaine, according to a judge’s ruling on Tuesday.
Robert Allen, 36, was arrested in 2015 after the Project Forseti investigation and convicted this past February. His case stems from an offer to sell cocaine to Noel Harder, a drug dealer turned police informant.
Allen admitted during the trial that he was addicted to opioids at the time of the investigation and Harder was his supplier. He testified that the cocaine offer was a ruse to maintain his relationship with Harder.
No drug sale ever took place, however simply offering to sell someone cocaine constitutes as trafficking, according to the law.
Crown prosecutor Doug Curliss had argued that Allen should spend five years in custody. He said that figure was “based upon the prosecution’s view of the facts.”
“The judge obviously found a different view of the facts,” Curliss said to reporters.
“After all it’s his view of the facts that counts, he is the judge.”
However, Curliss added that the judge’s ruling still sends a message that it’s wrong to offer to sell cocaine, even if a deal never takes place.
“Trafficking in cocaine where nothing happened, the judge said, is worth a year in prison,” Curliss said.
“I think most people view that as a pretty significant penalty on the basis that nothing was ever going to happen.”
In coming to his decision, the judge said there were a number of mitigating factors revealed during the trial. He noted that there was never any cocaine produced, Allen has no meaningful criminal record and is a productive member of society.
The judge also said that he didn’t believe Allen was in a position to sell cocaine and the plan between he and Harder was nothing more than a discussion. He explained that Allen’s case wasn’t typical of cocaine trafficking and admitted that he found his testimony to be credible.
Defence lawyer Morris Bodnar indicated that he didn’t know if Allen would appeal the decision, however he said “the sentence is such that I told my client to serve the sentence to move on.”
Bodnar added that he believes the real criminal in the case is police informant Noel Harder, who is now in witness protection.
“He was selling OxyContin to my client and the police knew about it and they continued to do this because they were trying to entice an offer for cocaine,” Bodnar told reporters after the sentence was handed down.
Allen will receive 11 days credit for time already served on remand. Bodnar described the prison term as “devastating” for his loved ones.