Family in disbelief: Innisfil man acquitted in landmark overdose death trial
BARRIE -- Three years ago, Denise Lane found her son, Shawn Kelly Jr., in his bedroom lifeless. He had overdosed on opioids.
"Justice system let him down, they let Shawny down," she says.
With her son's ashes by her side, Denise is angry that both men charged with dealing Kelly the drugs are now free.
Tahir Ali was charged with supplying her son the deadly mixture of fentanyl and heroin was set free by a judge last week in Barrie.
"We're devastated. It was pretty much caught on video. What else did the judge need to see," says a grieving Lane.
The 56-year-old Innisfil cab driver was accused of selling the drugs that killed Kelly was acquitted on all charges related to the 23-year-old's death.
Ali's co-accused, Ryan Walker, testified at his trial, but the judge ultimately deemed his testimony unreliable.
"He completely disbelieved what Mr. Walker was saying," says Ali's lawyer, Richard Stern.
Both men were initially charged with manslaughter.
Walker was found guilty last year of criminal negligence causing death and was sentenced to five years behind bars. He served less than a year in exchange for his testimony against Ali.
The judge said the Crown couldn't prove beyond a reasonable double that Ali supplied the deadly concoction to Walker, who then sold them to Kelly, causing his death.
"He had clearly had other drugs - they were right in his bedroom," Stern says. "It's very difficult to know what actually killed Mr. Kelly."
Kelly's distraught mother says her family has no justice. He left behind two young sons.
"He was a great kid. He worked, he got up and went to work five days a week," she says.
"You know, he wasn't what they call a drug junkie. He wasn't that. He had a bout of depression, and this is what happened to him."
She adds, "These people knew exactly what they were selling to him."
While Kelly's family continues to grieve their loss, Ali's lawyer says his client has several underlying medical issues, and likely won't be driving a cab again any time soon.