NWT Chief Justice Louise Charbonneau dashed any hope Darcy Oake had of being home for Christmas, refusing the accused fentanyl trafficker’s request for bail.
“I’m not insensitive to the accused’s plea to spend the next few weeks [at home with his family],” Charbonneau said in Yellowknife Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon. Oake’s parents sat together in the public gallery, a couple of metres away from their son in the prisoner’s box.
However, a reasonably “well-informed” member of the public would lose faith in the administration of justice if Oake were to be given a second chance at bail, she said.
Oake was 22 years old in late November 2016 when RCMP charged him with drug trafficking and criminal negligence causing bodily harm, in connection with the reported discovery of imported furanyl fentanyl at his Borden Drive home.
The criminal negligence charge was the result of an overdose that sent a woman to hospital with serious side effects shortly before his arrest.
RCMP said at the time they had used protective gear in a search of Oake’s residence which turned up four grams of fentanyl.
In early December 2016, Canadian customs officials reported seizing an envelope containing 10 grams of fentanyl at Vancouver Airport, allegedly destined for Oake’s home.
After his release in 2017 – he was a “borderline” case for bail, said the judge – Oake was supposed to be in a treatment plan in BC and attending school.
But he failed to follow procedures and came back to Yellowknife, where he was subsequently arrested on new charges allegedly involving cocaine and a replica firearm – which Charbonneau termed “a relapse.”
Defence lawyer Charles Davison had suggested Oake be granted bail to live with his parents under strict house arrest.
Charbonneau said she was concerned being in Yellowknife over the holiday season could expose Oake to temptation, especially given the stress he would be under awaiting his trial next month.
She was also concerned for any danger that could pose the public.
Oake’s trial, by judge alone, starts on January 8.