The Canadian Press
A 25-year-old man who sold his long-time friend drugs that caused a fatal overdose has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the death.
Justice Michael Harpur’s sentence specifies that Ryan Walker will not serve the full sentence due to a combination of time already served and his co-operation with another court case related to the death of Shawn Kelly.
But Harpur said Walker deserves a strict sentence in his friend’s death, siding with the prosecution’s request for a five-year sentence.
Kelly, 23, died of a fentanyl overdose at his home in Innisfil, Ont. in April, 2017.
Walker, who court heard was a friend who shared Kelly’s struggles with substance abuse, originally was one of two people charged with manslaughter in the case but pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death and trafficking fentanyl in December.
On Tuesday, Harpur handed down concurrent five- and three-year sentences for the two charges, noting that while Walker will be free in just over a year, the penalty should send a message.
“Mr. Walker’s single-minded pursuit of a drug sale profit blinded him to the fact that he was furnishing to a friend a substance known by him to be potentially lethal,” Harpur wrote in his sentencing decision.
“All crimes demonstrate, at a minimum, indifference by the criminal to the consequences for the victim,” he noted.
“When that indifference extends to the possibility of loss of life, its moral blameworthiness is extreme and the need for denunciation pronounced.”