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Ontario man learned costly lesson by missing court appearance, Corner Brook lawyer says

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Justice

With a sentence of time served for failure to attend court, an Ontario man’s dealings with the court in this province came to a conclusion on Friday.

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William Vincent Merkley, 33, wasn’t present in provincial court in Corner Brook when a charge of failing to attend court was called. Instead his lawyer Robby Ash entered a guilty plea to the charge, which was laid nearly a year ago.

Merkley missed a court appearance on a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act on Feb. 17, 2017.

The drug charge had been laid on Oct. 10, 2015 following a traffic stop on the Trans-Canada Highway near Deer Lake.

At the time of the missed court appearance he was bound by a $6,000 cash deposit recognizance.

A warrant for his arrest, endorsed for execution in Ontario, was issued and he was arrested at his home in Dunbar on March 2. On March 3 members of the Corner Brook Royal Canadian Mounted Police took custody of him in Ottawa and returned to Newfoundland with him.

He was released from custody on March 9 following a bail hearing.

After Judge Kymil Howe entered a conviction on the charge, federal Crown prosecutor Adam Joyce put forward a joint submission on sentencing for a period of 12 days, which Merkley had previously served after his arrest.

Ash said Merkley learned a costly lesson of what happens when you miss your court date, having spent time in custody and by having his parents fly from Ontario to Newfoundland to bail him out.

He also noted the underlying drug charge had previously been dismissed. The court registry later confirmed the charge had been dismissed on Dec. 15, 2017.

Howe accepted the sentencing submission and also imposed a $100 victim fine surcharge.

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