TOFINO, B.C. — A 66-year-old man who says he sold marijuana around Tofino, B.C., as a way to socialize with others and gave partial profits to Roman Catholic nuns won’t be going to jail.
Instead, a judge has ordered Matthew Williams to complete a six-month conditional sentence, follow a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and complete 10 community work service hours a month.
Provincial Court Judge Brian Klaver also ordered Williams to serve six months’ probation and submit a DNA sample to a national databank.
“Mr. Williams, if you were a younger person you would be going to jail today,” Klaver said Monday at a sentencing hearing. “There is no doubt in my mind.”
Klaver said he decided on the sentence because Williams pleaded guilty, had an old criminal record and is 66 years old.
Federal Crown lawyer Todd Patola said Williams was arrested after RCMP Const. Terry Reynolds saw Williams drive around town, make quick stops and pass out baggies through his window in 2008.
On Dec. 15, 2008, Reynolds pulled Williams over during a traffic stop and smelled smoked and bud marijuana.
During a pat down, Reynolds found 5.5 grams of marijuana and $200 on Williams. He also found 26 bags of marijuana, weighing between 5.5 and 6.5 grams hidden under dog food, and $1,000 in cash in the vehicle.
Patola said Williams later admitted he knew selling marijuana was against the law and that he always smelled like pot and smoked pot.
“He gives the money to the nuns and that makes him feel better about breaking the law,” Patola said.
Defence lawyer Randy Reiffer said his client has changed his mind about his pot-selling activities.
“He says he is getting too old for this thing.”
Reiffer said Williams is battling stomach cancer, lives alone with his dog on an island in Clayoquot Sound and has given up alcohol.
He said Williams’ only son drowned during a canoe accident.
Reiffer said Williams began to sell marijuana to socialize – not because of greed – and suffers from self-esteem problems as a result of attending residential school.
“Real jail would be devastating to Mr. Williams,” he said.
Williams told Klaver he has been ostracized by members of his First Nations band, the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, and doesn’t even receive a call on fish day – when members receive a fish allocation.
He said he began to sell marijuana so he could socialize but “picked the wrong game.”
Klaver said he’s worried about the number of children who may have ended up smoking the marijuana, and warned Williams that any breach of the court orders would result in jail.