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Pot Cafe Sentencing Delayed


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Oct 22, 2005
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British Columbia06 Sep 2006by Shannon Kari, Crown Requests Week Adjournment VANCOUVER - The sentencing of the former owner of the Da Kine cafe was unexpectedly adjourned yesterday because the Crown objected to the judge hearing about some of the political debate leading up to the September, 2004, police raid. Carol Gwilt, 39, was supposed to be sentenced yesterday on two sets of charges of marijuana trafficking and others related to the proceeds of crime. Police seized nine kilograms of marijuana and more than $60,000 in cash in the Sept. 9, 2004, raid on the Commercial Drive cafe that openly sold marijuana. Ms. Gwilt was arrested again a week later while on bail. A police search of her car found a bag of marijuana and $11,000 in cash. Crown attorney Paul Reilly and defence lawyer Jason Gratl told Madam Justice Catherine Wedge they would be making a joint submission on the sentencing. Neither lawyer would comment outside court, but it is believed the joint submission will suggest a 15-month jail sentence be imposed against Ms. Gwilt. Mr. Reilly asked for a one-week adjournment, because of information Mr. Gratl wants to include in an agreed statement of facts. The court heard the material relates to what municipal officials and police knew about the open selling of marijuana at the Da Kine cafe, which had received a business licence from the city. Mr. Gratl described it as an attitude of "acquiescence" by city officials about the selling of marijuana at the cafe. "I don't view those circumstances as relevant," Mr. Reilly said. The Da Kine received widespread publicity after Ms. Gwilt admitted in early September of that year that marijuana was sold at the Amsterdam-style cafe. The City of Vancouver had scheduled a Sept. 15 hearing that year to decide whether to revoke the cafe's business licence. A week before the scheduled hearing, B.C. Solicitor-General Rich Coleman criticized city officials for having a "ho-hum attitude" about the issue. Larry Campbell, who was Vancouver mayor at the time, was quoted earlier that week as saying that he did not believe it was a "big deal," although he did not condone the marijuana sales. The same day that Mr. Coleman's comments were published, more than two dozen Vancouver police officers raided the cafe. Ms. Gwilt declined to comment yesterday about the delay, although she indicated it would give her some more time with friends and family. "I was prepared today to go to jail," she said. Sentencing resumes Sept. 15.

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