Golf instructor turned drug line worker busted 'first day on the job' in Coquitlam
Scales of Justice statue at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver in this May 5, 2016 file photo. (Jason Payne/Postmedia Network)
A golf instructor convicted of working for a dial-a-dope line was arrested "his first day on the job," a B.C. Supreme Court judge noted.
Justice Ian Bruce Josephson sentenced Jeong Hun Kim to 90 days in jail, to be served intermittently, in New Westminster Supreme Court earlier this month.
Josephson said Kim, 27, was remorseful and that his circumstances warranted imposing a sentence lower than the mandatory six-month minimum.
“I am satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist here to take the sentence outside the normal range,” Josephson said in written reasons released April 13.
Kim was arrested in Coquitlam in August 2014 “after police witnessed a drug sale from his vehicle in a typical dial-a-dope operation,” Josephson said.
He was caught with 100 rocks of cocaine, 58 spitballs of heroin and 30 clorazepam pills.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking after a voir dire — a trial within a trial — was held in the case.
“Mr. Kim testified in a voir dire before his guilty plea. He testified that this was his first day on the job,” Josephson said. “He testified that he owed money to a person who recruited him in this illicit operation. That recruitment, he testified, came with threats to 'hurt my family members or friends’ if he did not cooperate.”
Josephson said the fact Kim had no criminal record was an important factor in deciding on an appropriate sentence.
“He is well liked and respected by those who know him,” he said. “He has expressed complete remorse, regret, and embarrassment for his actions, which I accept as genuine. This was a brief foray into crime and Mr. Kim has since returned to his former lawful ways."
He said Kim “has the support of his acquaintances and clients of his golf instruction business.”
Josephson said the amount of drugs Kim had, worth about $5,000, was “significant.”
But he said there was very little risk that Kim would re-offend given all of the circumstances in the case.
“This appears to be a unique case of a one day foray into criminality from what had been a law abiding life," Josephson said. "It ended badly for Mr. Kim and has had and will have serious consequences for him."