Sentencing Hearing for Activist Carol Gwilt Adjourned to September 15

Carol Gwilt at a peace rally in 2005Carol Gwilt at a peace rally in 2005A sentencing hearing for the woman who owned a marijuana cafe closed in a highly publicized police raid two years ago was adjourned Tuesday to allow the Crown more time to examine last-minute submissions from the defence. The sentencing hearing for Carol Gwilt was scheduled to begin in B.C. Supreme Court.
But Crown prosecutor Paul Riley told the court that the defence had presented him with some additional circumstances regarding Gwilt and the cafe that the Crown needed to check. Justice Catherine Wedge adjourned the sentencing hearing to Sept. 15.

The Crown and defence lawyer Jason Gratl also told the court that there was no disagreement on the sentence they believed the court should impose. But they did not tell the court how much time they thought Gwilt should serve.

A jury convicted Gwilt in May of possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and of possession of the proceeds of crime. Those charges arose from an incident in which police stopped Gwilt in a car on Sept. 16, 2004.

Gwilt and Michael Boudreau were arrested when police stopped the car and found a quantity of pot and $11,000 in cash. Boudreau was acquitted on a single trafficking count. The arrest took place while Gwilt was out on bail a week after police raided her Da Kine Smoke and Beverage Shop, a controversial east-side marijuana cafe.

In that raid, spurred by media publicity and complaints from neighbourhood residents, investigators seized nine kilograms of pot, some hashish, and cookies laced with both drugs, as well as $63,000 in cash.

At the sentencing hearing in July for the Sept. 16, 2004 charges, Gwilt pleaded guilty to the earlier Da Kine trafficking charges, which led to Tuesday’s sentencing hearing on all the charges.

The pot was allegedly being sold to anyone who filled in a form saying it was for medicinal use with no requirement for a doctor’s letter. Gwilt denied a police contention Da Kine was doing $30,000 a day in business.

The cafe on trendy Commercial Drive was allowed to reopen without the pot but later closed and Gwilt surrendered her business licence. It’s now a 1950s-style diner, said Gratl.

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