In a Barrie courtroom Tuesday afternoon, 25-year-old Ryan Walker from Innisfil, Ont., was sentenced in connection with the overdose death of 23-year-old Shawn Kelly.
Kelly was found dead by his mother and sister in their Innisfil home on April 10, 2017.
A toxicology report revealed Kelly died as a result of the toxicity of four drugs he had consumed.
Heroin, furanyl fentanyl, chlorpheniramine and dextromethorphan were found in his system.
After his death, South Simcoe police charged Walker and 55-year-old Tahir Ali, both from Innisfil, with manslaughter.
The charges against Ali remain before the court.
On Dec. 7, Walker pleaded guilty to one count each of criminal negligence causing death and trafficking fentanyl.
At the hearing on Tuesday, Justice C.M. Harpur sentenced Walker to 13 months and 15 days in custody with respect to the charge of criminal negligence causing death, and a concurrent seven months and 15 days with respect to the trafficking charge.
Following his incarceration, Walker will be on probation for two years, and must comply with a number of ancillary orders including an order prohibiting him from possessing weapons and ammunition for life, as well as an order to provide a DNA sample.
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During his probationary period, Walker must report to a probation officer, abstain from the purchase, possession and consumption of drugs and must not associate with any individual with a criminal record or who is involved in criminal activity.
Walker is also prohibited from associating with, or being within 100 metres of, Kelly’s family.
Additionally, Walker must attend and participate in any treatment or rehabilitation program pertaining to substance abuse and mental health concerns or any other rehabilitative programs recommended by his probation officer.
After the sentencing, Kelly’s mother, Denise Lane, spoke to the media.
She said she was disappointed by the sentence.
“I was hoping for more for my son, my son deserved more than that,” she said. “He was an amazing kid and now his two boys have to grow up without him for the rest of their lives.”
Lane had also hoped her son’s case would be precedent-setting.
“I was hoping it was going to be a precedent-setting case,” she said. “It was for the dealers, for the drug dealers. It gives them the go-ahead and sell what they want.
“The victim’s family? We just get to bury our kid.”
Ultimately, Lane says she feels the justice system failed her son and family.
“South Simcoe police, Barrie police did all their work and investigation, brought it this far to court and the Canadian justice system lets you down,” she said. “People don’t ever forget Ryan Walker’s name because he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care. He’ll be selling again as soon as he gets out.”
And while she does not feel justice was served, Lane says the sentence will keep the community safe for a while.
“His death has at least put him away for that long and kept some of the people in the community safe.”
Lane says she has chosen to share her son’s story because the opioid crisis is far-reaching.
“There’s weekend warriors, there’s kids just trying drugs, there are people that are addicted to it — it doesn’t matter, they’re still people,” she said. “And you have people like , that will sell them something that he knows can kill them for $60.
“Sixty bucks is what took my son’s life.”
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