Sunday April 20, 2014

Breach of house arrest nets jail for drug trafficker

'I find he’s not provided any reasonable excuse for being out for 16 or 17 hours after getting out of hospital'

A B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled Thursday a convicted drug trafficker’s 17-hour absence while he was supposed to be at home under house arrest deserves time in jail.

Jeffrey Primrose was sentenced last year to 18 months house arrest for trafficking in cocaine. His lawyer successfully argued that Primrose’s severe health problems should keep him out of jail.

Since that sentence, Primrose breached his court-ordered house arrest four times.

“I find he’s not provided any reasonable excuse for being out for 16 or 17 hours after getting out of hospital,” said Justice Sheri Donegan.

Donegan suspended Primrose’s conditional sentence for six months, meaning he will go to jail rather than remain under house arrest.

The sentencing judge rejected a plea from defence lawyer Don Campbell, who argued the 27-year-old should be sentenced to the three days he’s spent in jail since the breach and then return to house arrest.

Primrose suffers from liver disease as well as a bacterial infection that left him with permanent tissue damage on his legs.

“Flesh-eating disease is the only way I can describe it,” Campbell said. “It’s horrific.”

Primrose must take drugs so that his body does not reject the liver transplant he received several years ago. He said those medications have been denied him at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.

During a brief trial, Primrose said the cold snap gave him leg pain and he went to hospital to get medication on Sunday evening. After about 1.5 hours without help, he left without being treated so he could catch the bus.

“I missed the bus by, like, five minutes. I had nowhere to go,” he testified.

Primrose said he decided to walk to a friend’s house downtown and stay overnight. He didn’t return home until the next afternoon.

Donegan said the absence after Primrose left hospital is not excusable. He was caught three other times breaching his condition by not being home.

Another sentencing judge sent him to jail for 30 days for the second and third breaches.

Primrose originally pleaded guilty last year to trafficking. He was busted in an undercover RCMP sting operation in September 2011. Undercover agents purchased cocaine in a dial-a-dope operation in which he delivered drugs after being contacted by telephone.

RCMP encouraged him to gradually supply larger amounts. In total, they arranged to purchase more than $8,000 worth of cocaine on three occasions.

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