Terry Phillips, 38, leaves the Ottawa Courthouse after his sentencing for dealing crack Monday, June 25, 2012. Phillips brought his 3-year-old daughter to a drug deal and then to his sentencing.
Credits: DARREN BROWN/QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - Crack dealer Terry Phillips, 38, brought his three-year-old daughter to drug deals and then to a court date, but on Monday he wisely left her at home before the judge gave him the good news: No prison.
Despite his "appallingly bad judgment" for bringing the tot on business, Judge Lynn Ratushny said she couldn't hand him the prison time sought by the Crown attorney, who had asked for 30 to 36 months in the clink.
"I am not able to ignore the family's situation," Ratushny said.
"Their son has special needs that are difficult to deal with and that require (Phillips') specialized knowledge."
If Phillips were to be imprisoned, his partner would have to quit her new public service job to look after the autistic 15-year-old boy full time, Ratushny said.
So she sentenced as defence lawyer James Harbic suggested.
House arrest - a two-year-less-a-day conditional sentence plus another three years of probation.
"Mr. Phillips has worked hard to rehabilitate himself," Ratushny said.
"He is not sheltering himself behind the needs of his family. He has done much more."
Armed robbery and assault in 1992 are among his 12 adult convictions. He quit the drug trade following a conviction in 2006 for selling crack, he told the author of his 2012 pre-sentence report, but money woes drove him back.
A new life and home in the west end with his long-suffering partner of 16 years set him on the road to redemption, the judge said.
"He found himself for the first time in his life sitting in his new home...surrounded by people who work," Ratushny said.
"It shamed him."
His criminal record hampered his job hunt but a friend finally scored him a gig at a Best Western hotel.
For seven months he's worked so hard that his bosses assured him he'd still have a job when the criminal case wrapped up.
"I've done a lot of bad in my life but I've also done a lot of good," the aspiring plumber and Algonquin College student told the court in a letter.
"I've promised my family that this is the last time I'll ever be involved with any kind of criminal activities."
"I've done all the right things not because I had to, but because I want to."