ECSTASY RULING ENRAGES GIRL'S FAMILY
Stevie Reilly, 13, Died After Taking Drug. Teen WHO Sold It to Her Won't Serve More Time
A 17-year-old who sold ecstasy to Stevie Reilly, 13, walked out of a youth court free yesterday after a judge ruled he should not be jailed for his crime.
Stevie, a Rigaud girl, died in February after taking the party drug.
While delivering the sentence yesterday, Judge Linda Despots said the youth court could not get caught up in the "wave of sympathy" felt for the girl's family and was required to sentence the 17-year-old for the crimes he had pleaded guilty to.
Despots's ruling infuriated Stevie's parents.
Her father, Greg Reilly, stormed out of the courtroom as it became clear the youth would serve no more time in custody. As he headed for the door, Reilly came within inches of the 17-year-old, brushing past as courthouse guards watched closely.
"To me, it legitimizes selling drugs," Reilly said.
Dawn Reilly, Stevie's mother, also was upset.
"This is cartoon justice," she said. "I think Daffy Duck could have given a better judgment.
"If you're under 18, you're invincible."
The youth was 16 when Stevie died and cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
He pleaded guilty to invitation to sexual touching, four counts of drug trafficking, obstructing justice and two counts of violating a conditional release.
Despots said crown prosecutor Mylene Gregoire failed to prove Stevie's death was an aggravating circumstance to consider in the sentence.
The youth, who was living in Hudson when he sold Stevie an ecstasy pill and gave her half of another, was sentenced to two years' probation. He had already spent three months in a youth detention centre. He left the courthouse holding his mother's hand.
Neither would comment on the sentence.
Stevie was visiting a girlfriend in Hudson on Feb. 4 when they decided to visit the youth's house. It was there that Stevie paid ***** for an ecstasy pill. He gave her half of another because she said she didn't feel any effect from the first pill. The teenagers had the house to themselves, as the youth's mother was spending the weekend with an Ontario man she had met in December.
Within hours, Stevie went into cardiac arrest and died two days later.
The sex offence involved a different occasion, on Jan 27, where the drug dealer had sex with Stevie who was under the age of consent. He sold her and her friend ecstasy on that night as well.
The Crown and the defence had agreed the youth should serve at least six months in custody for his crimes. That was conditional, however, on Despots determining that Stevie's death was an aggravating circumstance.
The maximum a person sentenced as a youth can serve in custody is three years. In a presentencing report filed during a sentencing hearing last month, the youth was evaluated as needing "a period of neutralization in a rehabilitation centre in order to send him a clear message that he is not used to having, meaning the need to face consequences for his actions."
But Despots rejected this view.
While reading her 16-page decision, the judge asked rhetorically if it was right to render a sentence equal to one that someone who had committed manslaughter would receive, when the youth hadn't even been accused of the crime.
"Remember, the accused recognized his guilt to a charge of trafficking and he should be sentenced for the crime he has been convicted of," Despots said, adding he never pressured anyone to take the drugs.
"The evidence reveals that the trafficking might have contributed to Stevie Reilly's death, but even in the absence of that tragic loss, it is known that trafficking in a drug like ecstasy can cause significant damage to the community and in particular to young people who are vulnerable and often ready to experiment at a risk to their own lives."
As part of his probation, the youth must respect a curfew for a year while living with his mother, who has since moved to Ontario. He must attend school or make the effort to find a job. He is also not allowed to be in the presence of girls under 14, unless a responsible adult is also present.
Gregoire said she will look over the judgment carefully before deciding whether to appeal.
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