Eugene Lacquette, 22, appeared in court on the expectation he would be sentenced to 19 months behind bars after being caught by police carrying about $1,000 worth of crack cocaine in June 2009.
The Crown and his defence lawyer Don Mokriy had negotiated a plea deal in the case that resulted in both sides recommending the same amount of jail time.
But Lacquette stopped the hearing halfway through and pleaded with Judge Judith Elliott to give him five extra months behind bars so he could serve his sentence at Stony Mountain prison — a federal institution — instead of the provincially-run Milner Ridge Correctional Centre.
Lacquette said at the outset of his request that he'd "rather be out on the street," but admitted he would rather to go to federal prison because there's more rehabilitative programming and family visits.
Elliott questioned him closely about his request, cautioning him about gang and drug issues at Stony Mountain, telling him that he may be forced by older inmates to do things that may result in him getting into trouble again.
"My decision has nothing to do with that," he said.
Elliott agreed to Lacquette's request, added the time to his punishment and closed the hearing soon after.
Mokriy said after court that it was the first time in his career one of his clients had made such a request.
It's his first conviction for a drug offence, but not the first time he's been to Stony Mountain.
Lacquette wound up there in 2008 after being convicted of possessing a loaded gun and violating the conditions of a weapons prohibition.
Back in jail 5 days after releaseFive days after he was granted mandatory release from prison after serving two-thirds of his sentence, Lacquette was nabbed by police in a Point Douglas rooming house with the drugs that brought him before court on Thursday.
Police stumbled upon Lacquette while searching the residence for someone else, Crown attorney Victoria Cornick told Elliott.
Lacquette had hidden the drugs in an aftershave bottle that police pulled out of the front pocket of the sweatshirt he was wearing at the time.
Police also seized $1,510 in cash from him, along with a cellphone.
This drug offender will be surprised when he finds out about the underfunded rehab programs in Stony Mountain. Community based programs are much more effective. Also, I think he will be negatively influenced by the gangs and drugs in prison and more pro-criminal attitudes, values and behaviours. Prison is a negative environment which does not encourage or facilitate rehab or reform. Often prisons are the schools of crime for non-violent drug offenders, such as this man, as the prison subculture outweighs the skills they may have learned leaving them incapable of practicing or incorporating those skills. I would have sentenced this man to a 2 year conditional sentence as opposed to prison of jail where gang and drug influences will likely only increase his chance of re-offending and impact him negatively.