He said Watfa had a “far greater depth and breadth of involvement” which justified a greater punishment.
“Using the Uber Eats model, it’s not always easy to find out where someone is sitting in the chain,” he said. “He [Watfa] was on the phone, he was the dealer, he negotiated with people further up the chain than him. ”
Although the charge of supplying a banned substance on an ongoing basis has a maximum penalty of 20 years, Pickering said Watfa oversaw a “rather small supply” that did not justify a penalty at the higher end of the scale.
The judge said Watfa had a previous charge of providing medication, but pointed to several health conditions, including gastric sleeve surgery, his need for major dental work and addiction problems as factors contributing to his downward spiral.
Pickering also said he accepted that COVID-19 had made Watfa’s custody more difficult and saw his desire to turn his life around and “enormous family support” as factors that would make him a good prospect for rehabilitation.
He said reference letters from Watfa’s fiancé, family and community members spoke of someone who “kept many of his problems away from his family”.
“He definitely needs more time on probation in relation to his rehabilitation,” Pickering said.
After being remanded in custody since his arrest in 2020, Watfa will be eligible for parole on July 14.
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