UPDATE Nicholsville woman given house arrest for trafficking methadone

Kirk Starratt
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A Nicholsville woman charged in relation to the death of Katanna Macdonald in 2012 will serve a term of imprisonment in the community for trafficking methadone.

Kelsey Leanne Pynch, 22, was sentenced to an 18-month conditional sentence order with house arrest for 12 months, followed by daily curfew. Pynch was also ordered to serve 150 hours of community service work, followed by 18 months of probation, including another 100 hours of community service.

The court imposed an 11-year-six-month firearm prohibition order and granted a DNA order.

As part of her conditional sentence and probation, Pynch is not allowed to carry home any doses of methadone if she continues to participate in the Annapolis Valley Health opiate replacement treatment program. Pynch started participating in the program in the fall of 2011 and admitted to selling carry-home doses of methadone to Macdonald prior to her death.

Methadone is a prescription drug used to wean addicts off opiates. The drug, usually in liquid form, is mixed with juice and taken orally.

Speaking on behalf of his client following the Dec. 23 sentencing, defence attorney Don Fraser said Pynch is not taking this lightly. She will essentially be under the supervision of the court for the next three years.

“Thirty-six months of control over a person’s life is very significant,” Fraser said. “It’s tragic. My heart goes out to everyone in these circumstances.”

Judge Alan Tufts reminded her that she could be arrested for breeching any condition and made to serve the remaining time in jail.

“You’re not going to Burnside today, but you’re serving a term of imprisonment,” Tufts said. “It’s not enhanced probation. It’s a serious sentence.”

Pynch pled guilty in September to a combined charge of trafficking methadone in Middleton on June 16, 2012 and Aylesford on June 27, 2012. Pynch had been charged with criminal negligence causing Macdonald’s June 21, 2012 death, but the Crown withdrew this charge.

“There was no evidence to suggest she (Pynch) was a drug dealer in the broader sense,” Tufts said.

The court had earlier heard that Pynch had been allowed to carry home three doses of methadone from the treatment program. Tufts said those responsible for the program thought Pynch was a responsible person, but as it turned out, “they were wrong.” Tufts added that Pynch didn’t have a full appreciation for the seriousness of her actions in selling one or more full doses to Macdonald.

He said it was clear Pynch knew it was wrong, but she did it to help her friend through “a rough patch.”

The court heard Macdonald was addicted to pills and Pynch had tried to get her to go to the methadone clinic. Pynch began using opiates at age 17, although she has been clean of illegal drugs for a while now.

Tufts said, to Pynch’s credit, she accepted responsibility for her actions and was remorseful. However, he pointed out that there is no question the methadone contributed to Macdonald’s death. Evidence presented to the court showed clearly how dangerous and lethal methadone can be if not taken under strict medical direction. It can become even more dangerous if mixed with alcohol.


Organizations: Annapolis Valley Health

Geographic location: Nicholsville, Middleton

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