specific findings which showed that the appellants had acquiesced to the pace of the case, including that the appellants were
complicit in underestimating the time for the preliminary
inquiry; failed to use the first day of the original preliminary
inquiry to cross-examine Fraser, the key Crown witness; were
not ready for trial on November 13, 2012, causing it to have to
be adjourned; could not have completed a six-week trial without
interruption if it had commenced on February 6, 2013, resulting
in a further adjournment; and failed to follow the Brampton protocol that had been designed to ensure the timely production of
transcripts, leading to many adjournments.
[ 182] For these reasons, I conclude that the delay was justifiable as a transitional exceptional circumstance.
The Sentence Appeal
[ 183] On his sentence appeal, Gopie submits that the trial
judge failed to consider his role in the conspiracy and the lack of
evidence in that regard; and sentenced him on the basis that he
had conspired to import cocaine, as opposed to marijuana or
some other less harmful narcotic.
[ 184] I see no basis on which to interfere with the trial judge’s
findings or the sentence that he imposed. In reaching this conclusion, I am guided by R. v. Lacasse,  3 S.C.R. 1089,
 S.C.J. No. 64, 2015 SCC 64, at para. 11, which provides
that except where a sentencing judge makes an error of law or
an error in principle that has an impact on the sentence, an
appellate court may not vary the sentence unless it is demonstrably unfit. I see no error that had an impact on the sentence
nor is the sentence demonstrably unfit.
[ 185] In relation to Gopie’s role in the conspiracy, the trial
judge explicitly instructed himself, in accordance with R. v. Ferguson,  1 S.C.R. 96,  S.C.J. No. 6, 2008 SCC 6, that
he had to determine the facts for sentencing independently, if
the factual implications of the jury’s verdict were unclear.
He was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Gopie was
“at the top of the hierarchy as the importer”. However, he had
“no doubt” that Gopie was “more than tangentially involved”,
noting that Gopie twice accompanied Wilson and Fraser (along
with others) to Montreal and was present throughout this
importation of drugs from St. Maarten.
[ 186] On the matter of the nature of the drug, the fact that
Fraser believed she was importing marijuana because that is
what Wilson told her is not a basis for the trial judge to find that
Gopie was also duped about the nature of the drug. It was