Sentencing delays drag on

Almost a year and a half after a West Kelowna man pleaded guilty to possession and production of a fentanyl analogue, he has yet to be sentenced and remains out of custody on bail.

Leslie McCulloch's commercial business on West Kelowna's Auburn Road and home were raided on March 2, 2016, and police found evidence of a large-scale counterfeit OcyContin manufacturing plant, using acetylfentanyl. 

The raid found more than 1,300 fake prescription pills, two industrial pill presses and more than eight kilograms of some type of powder.

McCulloch pleaded guilty to production of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking in February 2017, and was granted bail to “get his affairs in order” prior to sentencing.

After obtaining Paul Gracia as new counsel the following May, McCulloch applied to reverse his guilty plea after an analysis of the pills and powder only found four grams of acetylfentanyl, with the majority of the substance being caffeine and a binding agent.

In February, Justice Cathaline Heinrichs dismissed McCulloch's application, noting he was an “active participant” in the guilty plea. She also said the purity of the drugs has no bearing on McCulloch's guilt, but is relevant for his sentencing.

The Crown is seeking a sentence of more than 10 years for McCulloch.

McCulloch has since parted ways with Gracia as his lawyer, which has delayed his sentencing yet again.

On Wednesday, McCulloch appeared before the court without his new lawyer present, although he had a list of dates his new lawyer is available for a sentencing hearing.

Despite this, a date could not be sorted out for sentencing, and the Crown and defence will meet again on Aug. 24 to schedule a sentencing hearing.

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