There has been another delay in the conviction of an American couple convicted of drug trafficking in southern Alberta.
A hearing in Lethbridge for Gurminder and Kirandeep Toor was adjourned Thursday due to concerns over COVID-19.
Kirandeep had exhibited symptoms of COVID-19, meaning she could not appear virtually from an Edmonton courthouse for sentencing. Gurminder’s attorney, Greg Dunn, tested positive for the disease and was also unable to attend.
Both sides were due to present their sentencing arguments, after the couple were convicted of drug charges in April 2021.
Sentencing hearing date set for major cocaine importation case
In 2017, authorities found 84 bricks of cocaine, weighing nearly 100 kilograms, in the California couple’s commercial truck at the Coutts border crossing.
Trial underway for Californian couple accused of drug possession at Coutts border crossing
Another wrinkle on Thursday saw Kirandeep’s attorney, Patrick Fagan, raise a constitutional question regarding his potential sentence.
Fagan challenges a section of the Criminal Code of Canada and requests a suspended sentence for his client.
The question relates to section 742.1 (c) and (e) (II), which states that anyone convicted of an offense carries a sentence of up to 14 years or life imprisonment or a death penalty. His imprisonment of up to 10 years which also involves importing or exporting drugs does not qualify for a conditional sentence, which Fagan says violates his client’s constitutional rights.
Prosecution seeks clarification on new information in cocaine import case
Prosecution seeks clarification on new information in Toor cocaine import case
Kirandeep was found guilty of importing a controlled substance and simple possession of a drug. Gurminder was convicted of importing a controlled substance as well as possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Fagan pointed to the “extremely unique feats” of Kirandeep’s case when she argued on the constitutional question, adding that she was “a good candidate for a conditional sentence”.
The Crown argued the challenge should not go ahead, saying the defense “failed to give proper notice” after a letter announcing Fagan’s intention to ask a constitutional question was received by the court on January 3.
The judge sided with Fagan, so constitutional arguments and sentencing submissions will be heard on February 4, with decisions on both scheduled for April 13.
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