A young mother who trafficked cocaine within sight of the Victoria police station three years ago has received a suspended sentence and 18 months of probation.
Samantha Fink, 28, pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possession of methamphetamine in March 2018.
At her sentencing hearing last week, the Crown asked the court to impose a six-month jail sentence. Defence lawyer Chantelle Sutton, however, urged Justice Jennifer Power to deliver a suspended sentence and probation on the grounds of exceptional circumstances — which she did, citing Fink’s history and desire to turn her life around.
“Ms. Fink’s background story is exceptionally sad and difficult even for those of us who are used to these terrible tales,” said Power, who warned Fink to proceed carefully during her probation.
“If you come back before me or before a court, you can anticipate being dealt with very severely. That is something you are really going to have to take into account as you move forward and work harder towards your own rehabilitation,” the judge said.
In February 2018, police received information that Fink was trafficking drugs out of her Quadra Street apartment directly opposite the police station. On March 6, they set up surveillance from the station and watched Fink conduct three hand-to-hand transactions.
The next day, police searched her apartment, which she shared with her eight-year-old daughter, and found 28.9 grams of cocaine and half a gram of methamphetamine. Police also found score sheets and other drug paraphernalia consistent with a dial-a-dope operation.
Fink was arrested and pleaded guilty.
A presentence report prepared for the sentencing hearing revealed that Fink had an unstable childhood. Her parents divorced when she was eight. Her father was an alcoholic who was violent toward her mother, while her sister is developmentally delayed and received much of their mother’s attention.
Fink was introduced to drugs when she was 13 by a 28-year-old man who wanted her to lose weight. He was also physically abusive. Her mother tried to get her away from him, but Fink became pregnant at 17 and had her daughter at 18. At 19, another boyfriend introduced her to heroin and she became a daily heroin user.
Fink has a Grade 8 education, has worked in the service industry but has been on income assistance for the past six years. Her mother said in the report that Fink was the victim of violent incidents in her early 20s and suffered a brain injury.
However, she is now in a stable relationship and has the support of her mother, her partner and his mother, and has received a prescription for methadone.
“It is extraordinary that notwithstanding this very difficult background, Ms. Fink does not have a criminal record,” said the judge, who said an aggravating factor was the fact that Fink’s daughter lived with her in an apartment that was at the centre of a dial-a-dope operation.
For the first six months of her probation, Fink, whose daughter now lives with her mother, must abide by a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. She must also complete 25 hours of community work service.