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“High risk to reoffend”: Appeals court rejects second appeal by Penticton drug dealer

Elkena Knauff tried again but was once again rejected over attempts to escape punishment
Statue of Lady Justice at Vancouver Law Courts. (File photo)

A Penticton drug dealer had his second appeal rejected after his 2022 conviction.

Elkena Knauff lost his appeal for a new trial in February of 2023, the appeal court denying him over a lack of credibility, and then he promptly filed a new appeal over the 30-month jail sentence he received.

This appeal claimed that the sentencing judge had erred by taking into account convictions that happened after the 2017 drug trafficking incident.

In the decision, published on April 19, the appeal court did recognize that this shouldn’t have been an aggravating factor for the sentence, but that even if it was removed that the 30-month jail sentence he received was appropriate and necessary.

In their reasoning for dismissing the appeal, the appeals court notes that while Knauff’s post-offence convictions shouldn’t have been an aggravating factor, they did represent a pattern of behaviour that warranted the sentence along with his many previous violent and non-violent convictions.

“There was no evidence suggesting that the appellant’s rehabilitative prospects are favourable,” reads the appeals court’s decision “He is at high risk to re-offend. Specific deterrence, as well as general deterrence and denunciation, were important sentencing considerations.”

READ MORE: Penticton drug dealer denied new trial over credibility

In 2017, Knauff was arrested by Penticton RCMP after officers interrupted a suspected drug deal at a vehicle in the Walmart parking lot in Penticton.

The officers rolled up as the two people went to either side of the vehicle, speaking with them, Knauff and his co-accused Cheryl Aeichele, before they pulled back to let them leave. As Aechelie reversed the vehicle, one officer spotted a baggie on the ground where the passenger window had been.

Knauff and Aeichele were arrested and the vehicle was searched, and the officers found methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl, together with cash, walkie-talkies and numerous items commonly associated with drug trafficking. The drugs and drug-related items were found in the driver’s doorjamb, a purse from the center console area, and a small safe disguised as a dictionary underneath the centre console armrest.

While searching Knauff, an officer also found $515 in cash and a cell phone inside a wallet, and four individual bags of powder cocaine inside a larger bag in his front pant pocket. In total, the drugs seized were worth about $4,500.

During his trial, Knauff claimed that the bag of drugs had been dropped in his lap by the man who had come up to the vehicle and that he had no idea that the baggie had drugs in it before he stuffed it into his pocket.

In his original appeal, Knauff had claimed the trial judge had failed to give his testimony appropriate consideration, which the original appeal court dismissed.

Knauff still has based on the date he was sentenced, a year left to spend in jail over his drug trafficking charges.

Aeichele, with no criminal record, was previously given an 18-month conditional sentence to be served in the community.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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