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Man convicted in Coquitlam fentanyl dial-a-dope scheme loses appeal for shorter sentence

Young father of three, who sold fentanyl to Coquitlam RCMP, could face deportation but appeal court ruled the sentence shouldn't be reduced to avoid "collateral consequences."
BC Supreme Court Vancouver
The BC Court of Appeal denied an appeal for a shorter sentence for a man convicted in a Coquitlam dial-a-dope scheme.

A man who sold fentanyl to Coquitlam RCMP undercover police officers in 2019 will have to serve his full 12-month sentence, the BC Appeal Court has decided.

Sean Delano Stampp was 21 years old when he was charged with drug trafficking in a dial-a-dope scheme, which involved selling $480 worth of drugs at a Coquitlam gas station.

Stampp plead guilty and was moving into a more "positive" direction at the time of his sentencing in August 2021, the court heard: He got a job and was supporting a young family, including two children in his household, and had moved away from his former associates.

In his appeal, Stampp sought a conditional sentence to be served in the community or a reduced sentence, arguing that the original sentencing judge failed to consider immigration consequences and his mental health when he committed the offence.

According to the written ruling, recently published online, Stampp is a permanent resident having moved to Canada from Jamaica in 2009 with his family when he was 11 years old; the longer sentence could result in his deportation, separating him from his young family, he suggested.

Additionally, Stampp asked the appeal court to consider "fresh" evidence from two doctors, which showed that Stampp's judgment was impaired due to ongoing mental health issues and use of illicit drugs.

However, the appeal court declined to accept the reports noting they didn't prove Stampp suffered psychosis at the time of the offence, and Stampp was already on record as stating he hadn't used such drugs since December 2017 — one-and-a-half years before the offence.

"Neither report calls into question the judge’s finding that Mr. Stampp was not suffering from symptoms of psychosis at the time of the offence," the decision noted. 

No appeal for deportation

On Stampp's immigration status, the appeal court judge acknowledged Stampp's 12-month sentence made him ineligible for an appeal in a deportation case.

"That consequence is significant because Mr. Stampp’s three young children, his fiancée and his nuclear family all reside in British Columbia. Deportation would likely separate him from the support of his family and would undermine the strides he has made towards a prosocial lifestyle, including regular employment — circumstances that would weigh in his favour if he had a right to appeal a deportation order on compassionate grounds."

However, the appeal court noted that those who traffic in fentanyl can expect to go to prison for 18 to 36 months, "absent something in the circumstances of the offence or offender that warrants departing from that range."

The 12-month sentence was already below the minimum, the appeal court stated, because the sentencing judge had already taken into account Stampp’s mental health issues and the principle of rehabilitation.

In denying the appeal, Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon stated that immigration outcomes should not outweigh the gravity of fentanyl trafficking.

"In my view, imposing a sentence of six months less a day for fentanyl trafficking in the circumstances of this case would not be proportionate to the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender."

Mr. Stampp was involved in a dial-a-dope operation dedicated exclusively to the sale of fentanyl, a deadly drug responsible for hundreds of deaths in B.C. every month.

He was not an addict, but sold fentanyl entirely for financial gain, the court heard.

Although he did not have a criminal record, he had been involved with the justice system and, at the time of the offence, was on probation as part of a conditional discharge he had been granted on Nov. 15, 2018, the ruling states.

It continues, "To reduce the sentence to just under six months in these circumstances would be to skew the sentencing process to avoid the immigration consequences Parliament has determined should follow upon serious criminality."

The sentence was upheld in the decision written by Justice Fenlon and concurred by two other appeal court judges.