A convicted fentanyl dealer from Vancouver Island lost an appeal of his sentence this week.
Reiner Peter Niederhumer had his appeal dismissed Tuesday, March 8, in the B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver.
Niederhumer, serving concurrent 18-month and 30-day sentences for fentanyl and heroin trafficking and fentanyl possession, argued that the sentencing judge erred in not permitting him to serve a conditional sentence, according to court documents.
In October 2018, Niederhumer, on two separate occasions, sold drugs to an undercover police officer at a house in Parksville – 0.2 grams of a heroin-fentanyl mix one day, 0.19 grams of fentanyl the next. He was arrested in December 2018, pleaded guilty to trafficking charges in November 2019, was sentenced in July 2021, and has been incarcerated since then.
Between his arrest and sentencing, he moved from Parksville to Nanaimo. At the time of sentencing, the 52-year-old had 16 previous incidents on his criminal record, though none since 2014.
The sentencing judge felt that Niederhumer “did not regard trafficking in heroin and fentanyl as criminal” and noted that while out on bail, his reporting to his probation officer started out fair, but “slowly declined” to poor.
The sentencing judge suggested a 18-month sentence was within an appropriate range for street-level trafficking, and decided against a conditional sentence “because he was of the view that Mr. Niederhumer posed a risk to the safety of the community in light of all the circumstances, including his lack of insight into his offending, unresolved substance use issues, and poor reporting history.”
Niederhumer asked for the appeal because he felt the sentencing judge failed to consider that “when there is a substantial likelihood of rehabilitation, the court should look to alternatives to incarceration in penal institutions.”
Appeals Court judge David Frankel wrote in his decision that because Niederhumer “continued to minimize the seriousness of his offending, had failed to comply with the reporting condition of his bail, and did not have a plan to support his rehabilitation and manage the risk he posed to the community,” the sentencing judge was entitled to conclude that a conditional sentence was not appropriate.