R. v. Terezakis,


2006 BCSC 915

Date: 20060510
Docket: 22716
Registry: Vancouver



Anthony Terezakis

Before: The Honourable Madam Justice H. Holmes

Oral Reasons for Sentence

May 10, 2006

Counsel for Crown:

P.W. Hogg
J.S. Kliewer

Counsel for Defence:

P.A. Smith-Gander
C.L. Corriveau

Place of Trial:

Vancouver, B.C.



[1]                THE COURT:  Mr. Terezakis pleaded guilty to three serious drug offences at the beginning of his trial before a jury, and was found guilty by the jury of offences of assault (three with a weapon) against ten different individuals, which he committed some months after the period of the drug charges.  The task now is to determine the appropriate sentences for all of those offences.

[2]                Mr. Hogg for the Crown submits that the organized character of the drug-trafficking operation Mr. Terezakis ran and the fact that he committed the assaults in order to protect the continuation of a version of the trafficking operation require strong denunciatory and deterrent sentences.  He submits that the appropriate prison sentences are nine years on the drug offences and six years (cumulatively, and allowing for the application of the totality principle) on the assaults, for a total of fifteen years, less the usual double credit for the thirty-three months Mr. Terezakis has served in pre-sentencing custody.

[3]                Ms. Smith-Gander submits that in Mr. Terezakis’ circumstances of unusual hardship and personal tragedy during the time since his arrest in August 2003, greater than double credit should be given to the period of pre-sentencing custody and that, in any event, time served is a sufficient and fit sentence in all the circumstances.


The Drug Offences

[4]                The drug offences to which Mr. Terezakis pleaded guilty are in Counts 2 through 4 of the indictment.  They charge, respectively, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and heroin, trafficking in cocaine, and trafficking in heroin, all between February 4, 2002, and October 10, 2002.  Count 2 names twenty-one co-conspirators. 

[5]                Mr. Terezakis pleaded guilty to these drug offences on the day the trial was scheduled to begin before the jury.  Voir dire proceedings had taken place over most of about seven months in the preceding year. 

[6]                Mr. Terezakis was of the firm position that his guilty pleas should be before the jury trying the remaining offences on the indictment so that the jury understood that he took responsibility for the drug offences.  The Crown took the position that the drug offences provided context to the offences for trial by the jury.  Accordingly, extensive admissions of fact were prepared and put before the jury as Exhibit 1 in the trial detailing numerous aspects of the drug operation on which Counts 2 through 4 are based.

[7]                The admissions of fact document investigative steps, such as searches, seizures, and undercover surveillance, from which inferences may be drawn as to the nature and scale of the drug operation.  Evidence of witnesses in the trial, including Mr. Terezakis, confirmed the accuracy of most of the main inferences the Crown suggested.

[8]                Pursuant to s. 724(1) and s. 724(2)(b) of the Criminal Code, I find the following facts in relation to the drug operation.

[9]                Mr. Terezakis was in overall control of the operation.  He explained in his testimony that he took over the drug business from his brother after his brother died in October 2001, reputedly from a drug overdose, and he carried on the business as a family business. 

[10]            The drug business centred ultimately on small quantity but high volume sales from a particular location called “the chair” in the bar of the American Hotel on Main Street in Vancouver. 

[11]            People, mostly young men, were employed on fixed shifts to “work the chair” or make sales to members of the public.  Cocaine was typically sold by the flap or by the rock, and heroin by the flap or by the point, at approximately $10 each.

[12]            The person working the chair would periodically replenish his supply from a “stash room” in the hotel.  There, they would turn over cash received, and the person in charge of the stash room would maintain a record of drugs out and cash in (as between the stash room and the person working the chair).  Careful track was kept as to whether the person working the chair was “short” on drugs or cash, as there was constant concern that the person might steal money or drugs, use the drugs personally without paying for them, or “front” drugs to someone else without receiving immediate payment.

[13]            The stash room was moved from time to time within the hotel so as to avoid detection and reduce the risk of thefts. 

[14]            The drugs were brought to the stash rooms in the hotel by couriers (some of whom are named as co-conspirators) from off-site locations where the drugs were prepared and packaged for individual sale.  The off-site locations included rented rooms in the Linda Vista Motel in Surrey and the Sleepy Lodge Motel in Coquitlam, from which the police made substantial seizures in April and June of 2002.

[15]            No record or estimate is available of the quantity of drugs sold from the chair over the period of the charges.  However, the character of the operation indicates that the quantity that passed through the chair to the public in the eight months covered by the charges must have been very substantial. 

[16]            Mr. Terezakis had no other source of income at the time.  From the drug business he supported, at the very least, himself, his wife, and his younger sons.

[17]            The before-profit expenses of the drug business were considerable.  Mr. Terezakis employed young men he described as “managers” to oversee the operation, although he personally maintained supervisory control by frequent telephone contact and by fairly frequent personal attendance at the American Hotel. 

[18]            Mr. Terezakis also employed couriers and people to package the drugs, although they may have been the same people.  He rented off-site rooms as well as the stash rooms in the hotel, and he employed shift workers for the chair, typically for $100 per shift of ten or twelve hours, and he often ran two shifts per day.

[19]            Some indication of volume is given by the Vancouver Police Department undercover surveillance on about six occasions between April and July of 2002.  On almost every occasion the officers saw at least ten transactions per hour, and sometimes saw as many as twenty in half an hour.  It appears that each transaction was for one rock or item of drugs.

[20]            Although Mr. Terezakis relied on his managers to keep the operation functioning smoothly, it is clear from the evidence of intercepted phone calls that he maintained an active supervisory interest, including, for example, in such matters as the staffing of the chair, the available supply of drugs, any problems with “shorting” or “fronting” by employees in the chair or the stash room, and the appropriate method by which couriers and managers were to travel for various purposes associated with their duties. 

[21]            The degree of organization of the operation and Mr. Terezakis’ control of it is evident in the fact that when on separate occasions two couriers were arrested, Mr. Terezakis each time took steps to quickly inquire about the status of any charges, to arrange for bail and counsel for the couriers, and to determine what, if anything, the police seized from the couriers and what, if anything, the couriers had said to the police.  Whether or not Mr. Terezakis was motivated, as he says, purely to assist the employee rather than, as the Crown contends, to prevent the employee from giving information to the police, the measures he took indicate the level of his involvement and responsibility.

The Assaults

[22]            The only direct evidence of the assaults in the Crown’s case consisted of videotape evidence depicting them.  The videotapes came to light after Mr. Terezakis’ arrest on the drug charges when his estranged wife advised the police of the existence of eight tapes and turned them over. 

[23]            The videotapes run for about twelve-and-a-half hours and feature primarily Mr. Terezakis, usually accompanied by the younger co‑accused, Mr. Goosen, who is to be separately tried by a jury beginning in January 2007.  As shown in the videotapes, the two men proceed from room to room in the American Hotel and the Cobalt Hotel across the street, speak with the residents and other people, hand out bibles and dispense spiritual and other advice, and in some scenes conduct interrogations or inflict violence or both.  To prove that the assaults occurred, the Crown relies on the depictions of the various interrogations and acts of violence. 

[24]            Other evidence in the trial indicated that these interrogations and acts of violence were committed in or around May 2003, which was some months after the period of the drug offences in Counts 2 through 4.

[25]            I will now describe the various assaults individually as they appear in the videotape evidence.

Count 7 – Assault of A. – Videotape #1 

[26]            As shown in the videotape evidence, Mr. Terezakis and Mr. Goosen encounter a young man apparently named A. in the hallway of one of the hotels, and suddenly explode into violence.  Mr. Terezakis hits A. around the head, A. doubles over, and Mr. Terezakis and Mr. Goosen start to pummel him.  A. cries and falls to the ground, and they kick him and stomp on his head and the back of his neck. 

[27]            During this episode Mr. Terezakis calls “Praise the Lord.”  Toward the end of the episode he tells A. to “Get off my fucking block right now”, and tells A. that if he returns, Mr. Terezakis will make a “fucking monster” of him.  A. is docile and compliant.

Counts 9  – Assault of D.[S.]] – Videotapes #2 & #4 and
Count 10 – Assault with a Weapon – Videotapes #2 & #4 

[28]            These charges both relate to the course of conduct shown in videotapes #2 and #4 in which Mr. Terezakis assaults D.S. with a metal pipe.

[29]            The jury found Mr. Terezakis guilty of assault with a weapon.  The jury found Mr. Terezakis not guilty of assault causing bodily harm, but guilty of assault simpliciter as the included offence within the charge of assault causing bodily harm.  By the principles in R. v. Kienapple, [1975] 1 S.C.R. 729, a conviction will enter only in relation to Count 9 (assault with a weapon), and will not enter in relation to Count 10 (assault simpliciter), although there are findings of guilt in relation to both counts.

[30]            This is a protracted assault during an interrogation in which Mr. Terezakis is bare-chested, shouts at D.S., who is cowering on a futon, accuses him of coming up short, and demands information from him.  Mr. Terezakis kicks, punches, and hits D.S. repeatedly with a metal tube or pipe, while for much of this time holding a set of pruning clippers in the hand he is not using to assault him. 

[31]            Again Mr. Terezakis calls “Praise the Lord” as he assaults D.S., and he integrates into the interrogation spiritual instruction and advice to D.S. about the effect of unfortunate aspects of D.S.’s background. 

[32]            Toward the end of the scene, and after a cut in the filming, D.S. is shown seated, visibly stunned.  He complies with Mr. Terezakis’ demands that he recite the rules to be honest and not to lie, and that he join with Mr. Terezakis’ concepts of the Lord and of the enemy.

Count 11 – Assault with a weapon of K.H. – Videotape #3 

[33]            The assault is shown in videotape #3.  However, K.H. appears in additional scenes in other areas of the videotape evidence, including in one notable scene where his manifest terror of Mr. Terezakis leads to an asthma attack to which Mr. Terezakis attends and provides assistance immediately.

[34]            The scene that is the subject of Count 11 is set up to imitate a courtroom trial.  In it, Mr. Terezakis conducts an interrogation of K.H. and hits him with a wooden stick, which Mr. Terezakis described as a “fish bat”.  Usually Mr. Terezakis hits K.H.’s legs, and does so when he is not satisfied with K.H.’s answers in the interrogation. 

[35]            K.H. is young.  He is slight and short in height.  He shakes and breathes heavily throughout, and cries at times. 

[36]            Mr. Terezakis combines the interrogation with instruction to K.H. to read the book, meaning the Bible.  At the end of the interrogation he warns K.H. to behave, not to lie, and to thank the Lord so that he will not have to be beaten or, as Mr. Terezakis put it, “spanked” further. 

[37]            K.H. is compliant and is evidently terrified throughout.

Count 12 – Assault of J. – Videotape #4, and
Count 13 – Assault of W. – Videotape # 4 

[38]            These assaults are shown in juxtaposition on videotape #4.  They are of a slightly different character than many of the other assaults. 

[39]            They take place outside, around the hotel, and occur as brief and explosive episodes of violence in response to perceived efforts by competitors to infiltrate Mr. Terezakis’ drug business. 

[40]            Mr. Terezakis slaps J. in the face and elsewhere several times and punches him in the stomach while swearing at him and calling out “Praise the Lord.” 

[41]            He then similarly slaps and punches W., who falls to the ground.

Count 14 – Assault with a weapon of R. – Videotape #6

[42]            R. is lying on a bed in a friend’s room in the Cobalt Hotel across from the American Hotel when Mr. Terezakis enters and starts hitting him repeatedly on the legs with a wooden stick, or fish bat, and accusing him of involvement in drug sales in the hotel. 

[43]            He threatens R. with a worse beating unless R. cooperates in helping him find another perceived culprit, but the beating is interrupted by the news that Mr. Terezakis’ truck is being towed by the police.

Count 15 – Assault of D. – Videotape #6 

[44]            Like the assaults of several of the other victims, this involves a lengthy interrogation in which Mr. Terezakis demands information from D., assaults him when he does not provide the responses Mr. Terezakis seeks, and moralizes about lies and forgiveness by reference to D.’s responses and D.’s background. 

[45]   a very young man. 

[46]            The assaults consist of slaps to D.’s face.  I did not count them, but estimate that there are dozens.  They are administered each time Mr. Terezakis is unhappy with D.’s response, and they are increasingly hard as Mr. Terezakis’ discontent increases.  At one point, Mr. Terezakis threatens to start hitting D.’s ears, and warns that an eardrum will pop.  Later, Mr. Terezakis picks up a hammer and threatens to make the process more painful.  At that point, D. provides the information he previously professed not to remember.

Count 16 – Assault of T. – Videotape #7 

[47]            T. is not as young as A., K.H. or D.  He is confronted about missing cheques and is repeatedly assaulted through kicks and punches delivered carefully and powerfully to different parts of his body.  Mr. Terezakis wears heavy boots and skintight gloves as he delivers the blows, and accuses T. of disgracing him and the Lord.

Count 17 – Assault of D2 – Videotape #7

[48]            In this scene, a bare-chested Mr. Terezakis accuses D2 about a shortfall, and offers that if D2 comes clean he will shake his hand; otherwise he will break his jaw. 

[49]            Mr. Terezakis slaps D2 around the head, and kicks and hits him.  D2 repeatedly says that he did not touch the stuff and is not lying. 

[50]            The assaults end when Mr. Terezakis notices that D2 is bleeding at the back of his head.  Mr. Terezakis gives Kleenex to D2 and tells him to get his stuff and leave; he warns that he will come after him.

Count 18 – Assault on B. – VHS Compilation Tape

[51]            This assault is shown on the VHS tape Mrs. Terezakis made as a compilation of extracts from Mr. Terezakis’ eight 8 mm videotapes. 

[52]            The scene as shown on the compilation tape is about two-and-a-half minutes long.  Mr. Terezakis speaks to B. about telling the truth.  He warns that he will not, to use his language, “eat [B.’s] shit”, and will instead feed “dung” to B.  After holding a dirty diaper in front of B.’s face for some time, Mr. Terezakis finally and suddenly shoves it into B.’s face while swearing at him and telling him to “eat it”.


[53]            Mr. Terezakis is forty-five years of age and is part of a very close family. 

[54]            His parents came from the island of Crete.  Mr. Terezakis was born in Canada as the youngest of four brothers and one sister. 

[55]            His father passed away about fifteen years ago. 

[56]            Sad to say, two of his brothers passed away more recently, one in September 2001, and another in December 2004, while Mr. Terezakis was in pre-trial detention.  Both deaths appear to have been associated with illegal drugs.  The latter death in particular was unexpected, and Mr. Terezakis was unable to get permission to attend his brother’s funeral.  A young nephew also recently passed away in, I believe, September 2005.  The deaths, and Mr. Terezakis’ inability to be with his family in their grief, have been particularly hard on Mr. Terezakis. 

[57]            The deaths and the association of the various brothers with the illegal drug business have been hard also on Mrs. Terezakis Sr., who is elderly and now frail.  She is obviously a woman of very strong character, who earned a prestigious decoration after World War II for her service to the British underground at considerable personal risk and hardship. 

[58]            Mr. Terezakis was married in 1984, and raised two sons of that marriage as well as a son of his wife’s previous relationship, until the final separation in the summer of 2002.  Since the breakdown of the marriage his principal residence has been mostly with his mother in the Vancouver family home in which he grew up; he has also at times used hotel rooms, including at the American and Cobalt Hotels.

[59]            Mr. Terezakis had a very strong and commendable working past until his recent involvement in the illegal drug trade.  He had his own pizza business at the age of eighteen.  He has worked as a skilled tiler, as well as in numerous other trades and businesses.  He worked briefly as a corrections officer with youth and found that work particularly fulfilling; however, it was short-lived.  More recently, he owned and successfully operated a martial arts school, in the course of which he produced martial arts shows or performances.

[60]            Mr. Terezakis has very deep religious commitment.  This is evident from numerous aspects of his life, including his work and study while in pre-trial detention.  During that time he completed dozens of bible study courses, some by correspondence, and many with acknowledged merit.  For as long as was possible, he led bible study classes within the prison several times per week, devoting prodigious effort to them.  He inspired a loyal following through the classes and the deep appreciation of many of the people he assisted. 

[61]            During his time in pre-trial custody Mr. Terezakis made great efforts to minister to those who entered the institution from the streets, and to help them back to physical, emotional, and spiritual health. 

[62]            Mr. Terezakis now teaches a program on the effects of the illegal drug crystal meth.  Exhibit 2 in the sentencing proceedings is a copy of a very powerful PowerPoint presentation Mr. Terezakis delivers in the course of those teachings. 

[63]            A substantial number of letters of appreciation was filed in previous proceedings before me, and Ms. Smith-Gander referred again to those letters in the sentencing proceedings.  They demonstrate the deep and lasting effect Mr. Terezakis has had on many, and the appreciation of those people of Mr. Terezakis’ willingness to devote very substantial amounts of time and effort to supporting them.

[64]            Mr. Terezakis explains that he suffered from a cocaine addiction at the time of the offences, and that he was fighting his own demons as well as trying to help others fight theirs. 

[65]            He proposes on his release from custody to enter a program at Surrey House Drug Recovery Facility.  He has the support of the director there to do so.  A staff member from Surrey House attended the sentencing proceedings to indicate support and to assist the court as necessary. 

[66]            Numerous other friends, associates, and family members also attended in Mr. Terezakis’ support.  Mr. Terezakis has not only a loyal and strongly supportive family, but also deep commitment and support from those he has assisted and those who wish to assist him in his efforts to move to a more constructive phase of his life.

[67]            Mr. Terezakis has a criminal record.  Other than a theft under conviction long ago, which I consider negligible, his record is as follows:

·                     1992 – obstructing a peace officer – $200 fine

·                     May 4, 1999 – possession of a prohibited weapon – suspended sentence, probation for one year

·                     February 5, 2003 (offence date December 15, 1999) – trafficking in marijuana – 30 days’ imprisonment and a firearms prohibition order

·                     June 2, 2003 (offence date October 20, 2001) – possession of a controlled substance – $920 fine

[68]            The most serious of those offences was the trafficking in marijuana offence from 1999, sentenced in early 2003.  The quantity of marijuana involved was large, it was said by the Crown to be twenty pounds, but it was found by Justice Groberman to be closer to ten pounds as actually delivered.


[69]            The fundamental purpose of sentencing is to contribute, along with crime prevention initiatives, to respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by imposing just sanctions. 

[70]            There are numerous objectives in sentencing, including :

§                     denouncing unlawful conduct

§                     deterring the offender and other persons from committing offences

§                     separating the offender from society, where necessary

§                     assisting in rehabilitating the offender

§                     providing reparations for harms done to victims or to the community, and

§                     promoting a sense of responsibility in the offender, and acknowledging the harm done to the victim(s) and to the community.

[71]            It is well-established in law that for serious drug offences, the paramount objectives are to express society’s denunciation of the offence and to deter others from committing similar offences. 

[72]            A sentence must be proportionate to the gravity of the offence and the degree of the responsibility of the offender.  It should be increased or reduced to account for any relevant aggravating or mitigating circumstances relating to the offence or the offender.

[73]            I will now say something about the aggravating and the mitigating circumstances in this case.


Mitigating Circumstances

[74]            The main mitigating circumstance in relation to the drug offences is that Mr. Terezakis entered pleas of guilty.  His pleas not only reduced the length of the trial and the demands on the public and others that a much longer trial would have entailed.  They also demonstrated his willingness to take responsibility for very serious crimes – that willingness bodes well for Mr. Terezakis’ rehabilitation.

[75]            The situation in which Mr. Terezakis now finds himself and the personal difficulties he has endured in custody also amount to mitigating circumstances.  In addition to the family tragedies I have referred to, Mr. Terezakis has had medical difficulties and discomfort during his lengthy pre-trial custody.  The demands of preparing for and attending the lengthy voir dire proceedings as well as his plea proceedings and the trial made these challenges no easier.  I accept that life has been difficult for Mr. Terezakis since his arrest in August 2003. 

[76]            Mr. Terezakis has nonetheless used his period of pre-trial custody productively to further his own spirituality, education, and well-being, and the spiritual and personal well-being of others. 

[77]            I consider all of those circumstances both as demonstrating Mr. Terezakis’ substantial efforts to achieve his own rehabilitation, as well as to some extent mitigating circumstances in the determination of the appropriate sentence. 

[78]            I say “to some extent” because Mr. Justice Groberman spoke of similar circumstances, which were outlined for him when he sentenced Mr. Terezakis in February 2003, shortly before Mr. Terezakis committed the assaults in question here.  Mr. Justice Groberman said this:

Since his separation about a year ago, things have gone rather poorly for [Mr. Terezakis].  He has had a great deal of contact with his children, however, and has one grandchild.  Mr. Terezakis has also provided me with a number of letters of people in the community who, for the most part, have been down and out in one way or another, and whom he has assisted.  Mr. Terezakis has also advised me that he is now following a Christian religion and he believes that he has turned things around.

Effect of Criminal Record

[79]            Mr. Terezakis’ criminal record for previous drug offences is an aggravating circumstance in relation to the drug offences in Counts 2 – 4. 

[80]            Mr. Terezakis has no previous convictions for violence and this is a mitigating circumstance in relation to the assault offences.

Aggravating Factors

[81]            The circumstances of the offences, both the drug offences and the assaults, add some significant aggravating circumstances, as I will now explain.

Drug Business

[82]            The drug business was organized in the way I described earlier, involving several levels of employees and coordination between locations.  That is of itself an aggravating factor. 

[83]            The business operated over a lengthy period of time.  It reaped its profits from sales to the people who were, as Mr. Terezakis knew, some of the most vulnerable people in our city.  The business ensured an almost continuous supply of addictive and highly damaging drugs day-in and day-out at virtually all times of day.  The terrible effects of cocaine and heroin are well known. 

[84]            Mr. Terezakis gave evidence during the trial that over the course of running the drug business he came to fully appreciate the reality of life for the most vulnerable in the Downtown Eastside, and took some steps to help the drug-addicted.  However, he did not by that evidence disclaim knowledge of the inevitable effects of the drug sales from the chair in the American Hotel; rather, he explained his developing understanding of the sociological and emotional causes that drive people to drug addiction in the first place.  Mr. Terezakis defended the integrity of his drug business by explaining that the drugs sold from the chair were more pure than the drugs sold by competitors, which were contaminated with other chemicals that made addicts desperate for their next fix all the sooner.  However, there is no basis on which to conclude that Mr. Terezakis was anything but fully aware at all times of the harm that cocaine and heroin cause to the individuals who take them and to society generally.  As Mr. Hogg put it, Mr. Terezakis was capitalizing on the misery of others.

[85]            Mr. Terezakis’ drug business drew in numerous young people as employees.  The person on whom he relied the most heavily as his on-the-ground manager was a young man of nineteen at the time.  Mr. Terezakis’ oldest son is named as a co-conspirator and is conceded by Mr. Terezakis to be such.

[86]            Mr. Terezakis ran the drug business by exerting enormous psychological and sometimes physical control over others.  The level of control and the incipient threat of violence to the non-compliant is apparent from the intercepted telephone calls in which Mr. Terezakis directs that certain people within or associated with the hotel or the drug business be searched, or be shut down, or be subject to “demolition”, or be spat at, or that a reward be put out for them. 

[87]            In sum, Mr. Terezakis’ drug offences continued over a long period of time.  They relied on a substantial body of individuals, including very young people, performing different roles, to ensure a steady supply of harmful and addictive drugs to our most vulnerable.  Mr. Terezakis maintained the ongoing cooperation of his employees through the force of his personality, buttressed by overt coercion, threats, and control.  Those are all aggravating circumstances.


[88]            As to the assaults, I find that their very character amounts to an aggravating circumstance that must be reflected in the sentence to be imposed.  The assaults were committed to support Mr. Terezakis’ drug business as it extended beyond or past the period of the drug offences in Counts 2 to 4, and they were to various degrees calculated, purposeful, and demeaning to their victims.

[89]            An aggravating circumstance must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt: s. 742 of the Criminal Code.  In my view, the jury’s verdicts necessarily indicate a finding beyond a reasonable doubt that the assaults had the character I have described.  I will explain.

[90]            Mr. Terezakis testified that his drug business out of the American Hotel extended beyond the period in the drug offences in Counts 2 to 4 (February - October, 2002) and through to his arrest on August 7, 2003, albeit, he testified, on a reduced scale as of early 2003. 

[91]            As to the assaults on trial, he testified that the videotape evidence on which the Crown relied is raw footage for a reality-based movie he was making about those who live in what he calls the “freak show” of the Downtown Eastside.  He explained that he had decided to take the opportunity before his inevitable arrest on drug charges to try to portray on film the pain behind drug addiction and the role of spirituality in overcoming the pain and the addiction.  He testified that all the main participants in the movie agreed to participate and consented to what occurred, including the scenes said by the Crown to constitute assaults and unlawful confinement. 

[92]            Several other defence witnesses testified similarly that the scenes of violence took place with the consent of all participants.  These witnesses included D.S., the victim of the assaults in Counts 9 and 10, and T.H., the alleged victim of the unlawful confinement charge in Count 8.  The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on that charge, and the Crown then directed a stay of proceedings on Count 8.

[93]            The main issue for the jury was whether, as the Crown contended, the videotape evidence “spoke for itself” in depicting assaults and confinement of numerous individuals, or, rather, and as the defence contended, represented staged or agreed events.

[94]            In its verdicts of guilt on all of the assault charges, the jury necessarily found the Crown to have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the assaults were without consent.  The jury could not have reached this conclusion unless it completely rejected the evidence given by Mr. Terezakis and other defence witnesses that the scenes in question in the videotape took place as they did with the agreement of all participants.

[95]            The fact that the jury found Mr. Terezakis not guilty of two offences of assault causing bodily harm, but guilty of the included offence of assault, does not affect this analysis.  Nor does the fact that the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the charge of unlawful confinement.  I will explain.

[96]            There are two bases on which the jury may have acquitted Mr. Terezakis in relation to the bodily harm charges, but found him guilty of simple assault.  It may have had a reasonable doubt that the harm caused was sufficiently grave to meet the definition of “bodily harm” in s. 2 of the Code.  Or, in relation to Count 8 only, the jury may have had a reasonable doubt that the force that caused any bodily harm was assaultive; there was evidence that some physical contact occurred off-camera, before the interrogation in question began.  As to these matters, the evidence of Mr. Terezakis and other defence witnesses did not conflict with the face value of the videotapes or what is depicted in them, but rather added detail not shown in the videotape evidence but consistent with what the videotape evidence does show.

[97]            The jury’s inability to reach a verdict on the unlawful confinement charge does not necessarily indicate that the jury or some of its members accepted the evidence of the defence witnesses in relation to this charge (including Mr. Terezakis and the alleged victim T.H.) or that it found that evidence to raise a reasonable doubt that T.H. was unlawfully confined.  The videotape evidence includes no direct indication that T.H. is restrained or is not free to leave the chair or futon on which he sits throughout a lengthy scene and during which he listens to Mr. Terezakis’ questions, taunts, and rebukes, and is repeatedly spat upon.  To that extent, the alleged unlawful confinement differs from the assaults where the videotape evidence graphically and clearly depicts kicks, blows, slaps and punches, and includes their corresponding sound effects in circumstances where consent would be highly unusual.  Unlike for the assaults, for the jury to have concluded that T.H. was confined against his will, would have required that it draw fairly far-reaching inferences from the circumstances shown in the videotape evidence. 

[98]            I note also that during its deliberations the jury asked whether there is a minimum period required for an unlawful confinement.  That question suggests that the jury was wrestling with whether the events as shown in the videotape evidence on their face amounted to an unlawful confinement.  Such an approach was, in my view, well-grounded in the evidence and consistent with the law as the jury had been instructed on it.

[99]            I have no difficulty concluding that the jury necessarily by its verdicts completely rejected the defence evidence that the assaults were staged and agreed to, and found beyond a reasonable doubt that they were without consent.

[100]        The jury therefore relied on the videotape evidence to speak for itself in the larger context of Mr. Terezakis’ drug trafficking.  That context appears from evidence of intercepted calls, as well as from defence evidence in the trial about the nature and duration of the drug operation, but it also appears in part from the videotape evidence itself.  In relation to each assault, Mr. Terezakis refers to some transgression of the victim in relation to drug trafficking in or around the American Hotel. 

[101]        For all these reasons, it is implicit in the jury’s verdicts that it found the assaults to have been committed in support of Mr. Terezakis’ drug business and to have the calculating and demeaning character the videotape evidence shows them to have.  Those are aggravating features of these assaults.


[102]        A sentence should be similar to sentences imposed on similar offenders for similar offences committed in similar circumstances. 

[103]        I have reviewed the authorities counsel have given me in which sentences were imposed for serious drug offences or for assaults.  No case is identical or even substantially similar to this one.

[104]        As Ms. Smith-Gander notes, the concerns underlying cases of drug importation may be different from those underlying cases of drug-trafficking or conspiracy to traffic, and the sentencing cases for offences of assault causing bodily harm must be considered in light of the fact that the maximum penalty there is ten years, or double the five-year maximum available for the simple assaults here.  I set aside for the moment the fact that there are also three convictions for assault with a weapon, which does have a ten-year maximum penalty.

[105]        The Crown relies in relation to the drug offences only on the decision in R. v. Pham, 2002 BCCA 560.  There, the Court of Appeal dismissed the accused’s appeal from concurrent sentences of eight years’ imprisonment less one year’s credit for pre-sentencing custody on charges of conspiracy to traffic in heroin and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.  The Pham case has many similarities to the drug aspect of this case:  Mr. Pham was the organizer and head of a sophisticated distribution network that involved numerous employees in various capacities, and relied to some extent on violence or the threat of violence to deter rivals. 

[106]        Mr. Pham had two previous convictions for drug offences, but they were for simple possession.  Mr. Terezakis’ previous convictions are more serious.  However, the quantity of drugs distributed was larger than is alleged or proven here.  Mr. Pham’s income was estimated as capable of being $2 million per year from his drug business.  Overall, the drug operation in the Pham case was larger and more sophisticated than the drug operation here, sophisticated though this one was. 

[107]        Also, there is no indication that in Mr. Pham’s case there was the significant mitigating circumstance that exists here of pleas of guilty to the drug offences.

[108]        Ms. Smith-Gander refers to the case of R. v. Bui, [1996] B.C.J. No. 269 (C.A.) where the Court of Appeal dismissed Mr. Bui’s appeal from a sentence of six years’ imprisonment on counts of conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and conspiracy to traffic in heroin.  The circumstances of the offence and the offender are not set out in any detail in the court’s reasons, which simply concluded that there was no error in the sentence imposed by the sentencing judge.  It appears that one of the considerations the sentencing judge had taken into account was the sentences imposed on co-offenders.  Those sentences and the underlying circumstances to those sentences are not set out, and the decision in Bui therefore, cannot, in my view, be read as articulating general sentencing ranges.

[109]        I have reviewed these and other authorities dealing with drug offences and assaults in light of the circumstances of the offences and Mr. Terezakis’ background and circumstances, and I have determined what I consider to be appropriate sentences for each of the offences.  I will indicate these in a moment.

[110]        In indicating the appropriate sentences for the assaults, I have considered, among other factors, the circumstances of the particular assault and whether the assault was with a weapon as was the case for three of the offences.

[111]        There are two further sentencing principles that come into play. 


[112]        The first is the principle that an offender should have credit for time in pre-sentencing custody.  Mr. Terezakis will receive double credit for his time in pre-sentencing custody in accordance with the usual practice.  Although his time in custody has been difficult, as I have explained, the reasons for the hardship are not, in my view, reasons that support more than double credit: R. v. Pangman, [2001] M.J. No. 217, 2001 MBCA 64 at ¶61 and ¶81.

[113]        Mr. Terezakis has served thirty-three months in pre-sentencing custody, and will be credited with five-and-a-half years’ credit towards the sentence on the drug offences.  Those are the offences on which he was originally detained, and they are the offences on which the sentences I am about to impose will be the lengthiest.


[114]        Finally, the totality principle requires that where consecutive sentences are imposed, the combined sentence should not be unduly long or harsh.

[115]        The sentences on the drug offences will be concurrent with one another. 

[116]        The sentences on the assault offences will run consecutively to the sentences on the drug offences and, subject to what I will say in a moment, will run consecutively to each other.

[117]        The totality principle requires that some of the assault offences be served concurrently with other assault offences.  That is because if the sentences on all the assault offences were to run consecutively to each other, the cumulative sentence would be unduly long or harsh.


[118]        Mr. Terezakis, would you please stand now.

[119]        On Count 2, which is the offence of conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and heroin, there will be a sentence of seven-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. 

[120]        There will be the same sentence on Count 3, trafficking in cocaine, and Count 4, trafficking in heroin.  Those sentences will be served concurrently with each other, and with the sentence on Count 2.

[121]        I am going to leave aside Count 7 for the moment.

[122]        On Count 9, which is the offence of assault with a weapon of D.S., there will be a sentence of two years’ imprisonment.  It will run consecutively to the sentence on Count 2.

[123]        On Count 11, which is the offence of assault with a weapon of K.H., there will be a sentence of two years’ imprisonment.  It will run consecutively to the sentences on Counts 2 and 9.

[124]        I skip now to Count 14.  That is the assault with a weapon of R.  There will be a sentence of one year’s imprisonment.  That will run concurrently with the sentence imposed on Count 9.

[125]        All of the remaining sentences I am about to impose are to run concurrently with the sentence on Count 9.

[126]        On Count 7, which is the assault of A., the sentence will be one year concurrent.

[127]        On Count 12, the assault of J., the sentence will be nine months concurrent.

[128]        On Count 13, the assault of W., the sentence will be nine months concurrent.

[129]        On Count 15, the assault of D., the sentence will be eighteen months concurrent.

[130]        On Count 16, the assault of T., the sentence will be eighteen months concurrent.

[131]        On Count 17, the assault of D2, the sentence will be one year concurrent.

[132]        On Count 18, the assault of B., the sentence will be one year concurrent.

[133]        The global effect, to use the colloquial term, of those sentences is eleven-and-a-half years imprisonment.  There will, as I said, be pre-sentencing custody credit for thirty-three months of time served, equivalent at double credit to five-and-a-half years, so that you will now serve, Mr. Terezakis, an additional six years’ imprisonment.


[134]        There will be a firearms prohibition.  This is mandatory.  I am required, Mr. Terezakis, to prohibit you from possessing any firearm or ammunition or any other weapon that is listed in s. 109(1) of the Code for a period of ten years from today.

[135]        I am also required to impose an order for a DNA analysis under s. 487.051 of the Code.  You are to provide samples of bodily substances reasonably required for the purposes of forensic DNA analysis.

[136]        There will be no surcharge in all the circumstances.

[137]        Anything else required?

[138]        MR. HOGG:  No, My Lady.

[139]        THE COURT:  Thank you.

[140]        THE CLERK:  My Lady, can I just clarify something for the record?

[141]        THE COURT:  Yes.

[142]        THE CLERK:  The firearms relates to what Counts?

[143]        THE COURT:  The assault with a weapon Counts 9, 11 and 14.

[144]        THE CLERK:  And the drug charges, My Lady, 2, 3 and 4?

[145]        THE COURT:  Mr. Hogg, are those --

[146]        MR. HOGG:  Yes, yes, they are, My Lady, the trafficking and conspiracy counts.

[147]        THE COURT:  All right.

[148]        THE CLERK:  And the DNA refers to assault with a weapon, Counts 9, 11 and 14, My Lady?

[149]        THE COURT:  Yes.

[150]        MR. HOGG:  Yes.

[151]        THE COURT:  Anything further?  Thank you.

“H. Holmes, J.”
The Honourable Madam Justice H. Holmes

June 25, 2008 – Revised Judgment

These Oral Reasons for Sentence of Madam Justice H. Holmes dated May 10, 2006 has been edited for publication purposes pursuant to the Inherent Jurisdiction of the Court.