Trafficking sentence based on joint recommendation not from incompetent counsel: NB Court of Appeal

Accused had extensive conviction record, central role in trafficking, and large amount of drugs

Trafficking sentence based on joint recommendation not from incompetent counsel: NB Court of Appeal
Accused had a central role in and used firearms to conduct drug trafficking operations

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal has upheld the dismissal of an application for the appointment of counsel and an imposed drug trafficking sentence based on a joint recommendation, due to no evidence of incompetent advice from counsel and the accused’s key role in trafficking.

In Boyer v. R., 2022 NBCA 38, Monique Boyer was convicted of multiple drug-related offenses following a guilty plea. The trial judge gave effect to a joint recommendation and sentenced her to a total of 13 years less remand time.

Boyer sought leave to appeal her sentence and an order appointing counsel under s. 684 of the Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, arguing that the sentence was unfair and that she agreed to the joint recommendation based on her counsel’s incompetent advice.

The appellate court disagreed.

Complexity of appeal not set out

Section 684 applies only in instances where the complexity of the appeal causes the judge to conclude that it is unlikely that the appellant can make a case for intervention and the assistance of counsel is required for the panel to properly review the case, said the court.

However, the appellate court found no evidence that her counsel provided her with incompetent advice. As such, Boyer failed to show that her sentence appeal “raises questions of such complexity that appointment of counsel under s. 684 is appropriate,” said the court.

Key role in drug trafficking operations

Further, the appellate court concluded that the joint recommendation was reasonable. The court found that Boyer was a mature offender with an extensive conviction record, she possessed large quantities of drugs and firearms, she played a central role in the trafficking operations at issue, and the firearms she possessed were key to the drug trafficking.

The appellate court dismissed the sentence appeal.

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