A man facing a 10-year wait for a pardon for selling small amounts of cocaine when he was 24 is the focus of a lawyer’s attempt to raise $20,000 through “crowdfunding” for a constitutional challenge.
Michael Charron of Ottawa was sentenced to four months in jail and a year of probation after he sold cocaine to an undercover officer on three occasions. At the time, the wait for a pardon that would set aside his criminal record was five years. But in 2012, long after he pleaded guilty and served his time, the Conservative government retroactively changed the wait to 10 years, citing public outrage that a notorious child sex abuser, Graham James, a former hockey coach, had received a pardon.
Ottawa lawyer Michael Spratt, who is representing Mr. Charron, said there is little difference between crowdfunding on the Internet and older methods of raising money such as passing a hat around.
“The people who are affected by [a potentially unconstitutional law] are by definition the very people who are least able to challenge it.”