Trafficking ends pharmacy career before it begins
Patrick Cheung was dispensing drugs even before he graduated pharmacy school. Unfortunately, the 26-year-old Winnipeg man's unusual attempt to get ahead in class has destroyed his future career plans.
Cheung pleaded guilty Tuesday to possession of cocaine and ecstasy for the purpose of trafficking. He was given a two year less-a-day conditional sentence, to be served in the community, under a joint-recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers.
Cheung has no prior criminal record and is not a "typical" criminal, court was told. He had already completed three years of post-secondary education and was studying to become a licenced pharmacist. Defence lawyer Danny Gunn said his client was having trouble focusing on all the work and turned to drugs as a "study aid."
"He used cocaine to keep him up and awake. He was able to study so much more," said Gunn. But Cheung quickly developed an addiction, which came with a steep price. So he began selling the product in order to allow him to keep using it.
"It's a very unfortunate situation," said Gunn. "Obviously he can't become a pharmacist now with a conviction for trafficking cocaine. Now he works as a manager at a Dairy Queen."
Police arrested Cheung in 2007 after receiving a tip that he had drugs stored in his Winnipeg apartment, which they later searched with a warrant. The Crown normally seeks penitentiary sentences for cocaine trafficking, but agreed to a more lenient penalty because of Cheung's otherwise positive background.
"I made a mistake and I'm sorry. I won't be here again," he told provincial court Judge Judith Elliott. She reminded Cheung of the hidden cost of drug dealing in the city.
"Lots of the violent crime in Winnipeg is happening because of cocaine addictions," she said. Cheung's conditional sentence includes a daily curfew and mandatory drug treatment and counselling.
The Free Press headline is definitely spewing positive words! (*sarcasm*). Yes, a criminal record severely limits employment opportunities, but one should not be discriminated against based on the criminal background. If I was discriminated against based on this, I would file a human rights complaint.