On Tuesday, April 9, a Saskatchewan court of appeals hearing states that a high ranking Fallen Saints gang member is trying to appeal his 18-year sentence for drugs and weapons charges. Justin Smith was originally convicted and sentenced in 2017 for a number of weapons and drug charges including possessing a large amount of fentanyl.
Now, Smith is attempting to appeal the sentence and reduce it to only 10 years.
On April 9, 2019, Justin Smith, the formerly high ranking Fallen Saints biker gang member, entered the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. According to his Facebook page, Smith is originally from Vancouver but lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The now 36-year-old is attempting to get his 18-year sentence reduced to only 10 years.
Back in March 2017, Smith received his 18-year sentence following a string of drugs, weapons, and criminal organization charges. A large part of his charges accounted for his involvement in the trafficking of fentanyl.
Smith’s arrest was part of Project Forseti which targeted the Fallen Saints and Hells Angels. The project led to numerous arrests including well-known member Justin Smith. Vital to the undercover investigation was the Fallen Saints president who was recruited as a police agent, Noel Harder.
At the time, Smith dealt directly with the agent on numerous occasions during the investigation that began in March 2014 and ended in January 2015. It eventually led to his arrest and an 18-year sentence, however, the Crown argued for a 20-year global sentence.
The longest sentence Smith received was 15 years for his fentanyl trafficking. Another eight years was tacked onto that for cocaine trafficking and four years for each weapon trafficking offence. Each criminal organization charge was also another two years.
While the total sentence equated to 35 years, the judge applied the totality principle. This ensures that sentences do not exceed the overall culpability of the offender. Because of that, it was reduced to 18 years which he has been serving since 2017.
During the investigation, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported that Harder and Smith were recorded having conversions about how to make fentanyl pills look like real OxyCotin pills. By the time of trial, Harder turned in 510 pills over to police. All were tested to contain both fentanyl and heroin. In one of the recordings, Harder said that the pills didn’t look real but Smith assured him that “people love them.”
According to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Smith was charged with unauthorized transfer of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm for the purpose of transferring it, possessing a firearm while prohibited to do so, possession of an unauthorized and prohibited firearm, and transiting a firearm with lawful excuse.
On Tuesday, the court of appeals in Saskatchewan heard Smith’s appeal. After hearing several hours worth of arguments from lawyers, Chief Justice Robert Richard and Justices Georgina Jackson and Jerome Tholl reserved their decision.
According to the Regina Leader-Post, Smith’s lawyer argued that the judge's decision was harsh, unreasonable, and disproportionate. He explained that his client felt remorse, had a gap in his record between serious offences, and plead guilty to the offences.
When Smith was originally convicted in Saskatoon court, Justice Shawn Smith referred to Smith as “a trafficker of poison and the instruments of death.”