Man arrested in 2014 drug bust finally getting sentenced

Convicted drug dealer unsuccessfully tried to get case thrown out because of delays

A Red Deer man who unsuccessfully tried to have his drug charges dropped, because it took too long to get to trial, will be sentenced next month — more than five years after his arrest.

Kyle Joseph Hamman has been convicted of three counts of drug trafficking and single counts of possession of drugs and possession of the proceeds of crime under $5,000 dating back to May 2014.

Hamman’s trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench started on Sept. 4, 2018, but Justice Robert Graesser’s written reasons for judgment were just released Friday.

The judgment and an April 2019 ruling dismissing a defence application to have the case dropped because of unreasonable delays provide a glimpse of how a relatively straightforward drug bust spent years working its way through the justice system.

Hamman came to the RCMP’s attention in May 2014 as a result of an ongoing drug investigation into another man.

An RCMP sergeant working with an Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams drug unit set up a meeting on May 8 to buy drugs from Hamman at a Red Deer restaurant.

The officer bought 100 tabs of MDMA — commonly known as the date rape drug — from Hamman for $500. The serial numbers of the bills were recorded and another police officer took photos of the transaction from a nearby vehicle.

The sergeant arranged another meeting with Hamman for May 20, 2014, and bought $100 worth of MDMA and a 3.5-gram ball of cocaine for $300.

The following day, RCMP officers went to the construction site in downtown Red Deer where Hamman was working and arrested and charged him.

Officers found $245 in his pocket, a small quantity of MDMA in his truck, along with drug-related items such as a scale and empty pill bottles. A search of his home turned up $300 in cash and other drug paraphernalia.

After various delays, Hamman’s trial got underway in September 2018. The defence argued the trial was taking place past the 30-month time limit imposed by the Supreme Court of Canada in a decision designed to speed up the court process.

Graesser dismissed that application, saying the delays were caused by the defence, who had been unavailable for suggested trial dates in October or November 2015.

A three-day trial was set for February 2017, but Hamman’s defence lawyer filed an application in December arguing the 33 months to get to trial was unreasonable.

In his decision, Graesser said the delays were caused by the defence lawyer’s unavailability. Besides, Hamman had plenty of time to get another lawyer who could defend him earlier than February 2017, he said.

“In a case such as this, if the accused is anxious to ensure that he has a speedy trial (as is his right), one might expect some evidence of such anxiousness,” Graesser writes.

He concludes that Hamman’s “rights were not violated by the time that elapsed from the laying of the charges against him until the initially scheduled trial in February 2017.”

Hamman is due to be sentenced on Oct. 24 in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

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