New Brunswick man sentenced for 2009 drug charge

Diane Crocker
Published on June 17, 2014
James Leger awaits sentencing in Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook on Monday, June 16, 2014.
Diane Crocker

A nearly five-old-drug case involving a man from New Brunswick came to a conclusion in Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook on Monday afternoon with the handing down of a conditional sentence.

James Ross Leger, 41, of Pointe-du-Chene, N.B., will spend the next 18 months under house arrest for possession for the purpose of trafficking.

James Leger had acted as a drug courier and transported 25 pounds of marijuana into the province in September 2009.

He and his brother, Todd Michael Leger, 39, were arrested on the Trans-Canada Highway near Pinchgut Lake after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stopped the vehicle James Leger was driving for a violation under the Highway Traffic Act.

Both men were originally charged with three drug-related offences — trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of marijuana.

As the charges wound their way through the court system, first from provincial court and then into Supreme Court, they encountered many delays.

In February 2011 came a request to transfer the charges to James Leger’s home province with the expectation he would plead guilty to the charges and the ones against his brother, who had been a  passenger in the vehicle, would be withdrawn.

There were more appearances that followed, and by March 2013 the case against James Leger was back on the docket for the Supreme Court in Corner Brook.

At that time both men entered not guilty pleas to the two remaining charges against them. The pleas came as a surprise to some involved the matter was set over again.

On Monday the Supreme Court docket listed the brothers’ names and type of proceeding as being a sentencing.

James Leger was present in court along with his lawyer Leslie Matchim of New Brunswick. Todd Leger was not present, nor was his lawyer Erin Breen.

When the matter was called, Crown prosecutor David Mills presented Justice David Hurley with an agreed statement of facts on the remaining charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking to which James Leger had pleaded guilty.

He indicated that the matter had been “sitting long in the tooth” with the court and that resolution had been complicated by the inability to resolve the matter in New Brunswick.

He suggested Leger was a candidate for a community sentence and suggested 18 months of house arrest, followed by 15 months probation.

Matchim told Hurley that James Leger acknowledges what he did, acting as a drug courier, was wrong and that he knows he has to pay for the consequences of his action.

Matching called it a “one-time error in judgement.”

In passing sentence, Hurley said he was satisfied the requested sentence was appropriate.

Hurley also issued a 10-year prohibition on the possession of restricted weapons and ammunition and a lifetime prohibition on the possession of prohibited weapons and ammunition. And he ordered James Leger to pay a $250 victim fine surcharge.

At the completion of the James Leger matter, Mills asked the court to endorse the charges against Todd Leger as withdrawn.