‘She’s humiliated’

Rosie Mullaley
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St. John’s pharmacist Ann Marie Burke was back in provincial court in St. John’s Thursday, where she was sentenced to a federal jail term. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

Nine months ago, she shuffled into court wearing slippers and a green bath robe.

On Thursday, Ann Marie Burke was composed as she was led back to jail to begin serving a federal term.

The St. John’s pharmacist was sentenced to two years and 31 days behind bars on drug-related charges and breaching court orders.

She was given straight-time credit for the 26 days she’s already served in custody, leaving two years and five days on her term.

“She’s remorseful, she’s embarrassed and she’s humiliated," Burke’s lawyer, Jon Noonan, said during Burke’s sentencing hearing at provincial court.

“This has affected her relationship with her family and she’s lost her career. …  She’s accepted responsibility for what she’s done.”

The 55-year-old was first arrested Jan. 18, with much media attention, after RNC officers raided her apartment on LeMarchant Road in St. John’s. Officers used a battering ram to open the door.

Once inside, officers found more than 1,200 prescription narcotics, along with 30 grams of marijuana.

The majority of the drugs were found in Burke’s nightstand in her bedroom, while others were discovered under her mattress and under the couch.

Officers also located a notebook containing contact information related to the sale of the drugs.

Also seized was more than $2,100 in cash, weapons — bear spray and a stun gun — and three laptop computers, along with jewelry and clothing, digital scales and four social services cheques belonging to various people.

The jewelry and clothing were believed to have been stolen, but police have been unable to determine from where.

Burke, who had been a pharmacist at Downtown Pharmacy on Water Street, was released from custody on several conditions on Feb. 9.

Last week in court, she pleaded guilty to five drug-related charges. Three of them dealing with possessing narcotics — oxycodone, morphine and marijuana — while two deal with possessing narcotics for the purpose of trafficking — methadone and Ritalin.

She was scheduled to be sentenced next month.

However, she was arrested again Tuesday, when she was spotted consuming alcohol at the bar at the Delta Hotel — a violation of her release conditions. She was also supposed to be living with her sister in Brigus, but it was determined she hadn’t lived there in over a month.

Thursday was expected to be a brief court appearance for a status update on the case, but it turned into a sentencing hearing after Burke pleaded guilty to two charges of breaching court orders and lawyers came to an agreement on sentencing.

During the hearing, Crown prosecutor Brenda Boyd pointed out that Burke had been in a position of trust.

“Ms. Burke is a pharmacist. Her position gave her access to these drugs,” Boyd said.

“This is a breach of trust and therefore has to be treated more seriously than other drug-trafficking cases.”

Noonan told Judge Joseph Woodrow that Burke is a mother of two daughters and has never been in trouble with the law before.

He said Burke battled alcoholism for years and became addicted to pain killers following a car accident in the early 2000s.

She has completed treatment programs and is determined to better her life.

“She still has a ways to go, but she hopes to get more help (while in federal prison).”

Outside court, Noonan told reporters that Burke “is ready to face the music.”

Meanwhile, a St. John’s man who was reportedly at Burke’s apartment the night she was arrested also faces drug charges in relation to the incident.

Christopher Robert Hollett — who was sentenced to 29 months in jail last month for a road-rage incident — will be back in court Nov. 23 to face five charges dealing with possessing narcotics and possessing narcotics for the purpose of trafficking.


Twitter: TelyCourt

Organizations: Delta Hotel

Geographic location: LeMarchant Road, Water Street, Brigus

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Recent comments

  • Herb Morrison
    October 15, 2011 - 20:41

    While it is disturbing when a person such as Ann Marie Burke, who is in a position of trust, violates that trust thereby possibly placing every pharmacist under public scrutiny, what is equally disturbing is the fact that when such a person is brought to justice within the legal system, the same person is treated so unjusticely by every self-righteous, self-appointed guardian of public morality who chooses to crawl out of the woodwork . Such individuals appear to take feindish delight in "kicking someone when like Ann Marie Burke when she is down. Such moral depravity poses a far greeater threat to the ethical fabric of the society in which we live than any person addicted to alcohol or drugs ever will. Ms Burke has recieved a stiff sentence indeed. Her career as a pharmacist is over, she is allegedly addicted to both alcohol and drugs, and she will be incarcarated in a prison where she may or may not be able to access help for her addictions. Then there's the social stigma which has already been attached to her in spades, if some of the comments related to this story are any indication, she will be unfairly required to deal with , perhaps for the rest of her life. Anne= Marie Burke appears to have hit rock bottom. It can be legitemately argued that she is either the mistress of her own plight or that she is the victim of cruel circumstances thrust upon her as she liveed her life. Either way Ann Marie is more to be pitied than anything else. The same cannot be said of those who choose to gleefully, voluntarily, sink into the mud. Choosing to play the role of jude, jury, and executioner ( actully muckrakers might be a more appropriate term), in order to satiate their over - inflated, self-righteous egos even if it means kicking someone who is down. Who has committed the greater injustice?

  • concerned parent
    October 15, 2011 - 06:12

    To kevin power---- ann marie is the family member her who did this crime not her family i am sure her family had no control of a 55 year old womens actions she is on her own here andher family should feel shame for what she has done they have done nothing. AND TO MR. dont forget the big hand they have played in the death of so many especially young people who overdosed on drugs or got killed for drugs ...in many peoples mind they are actuall murders also. As they are charged with drug trafficing they should also have a charge of murder !!!!!

  • newffie
    October 14, 2011 - 14:50

    drug`s ,drugs she broke the drug rule she was not smarter ,than the drug she was taken when you take drugs ,you have to be smarter than the drug you are taking

  • john
    October 14, 2011 - 13:23

    Not excusing her, but now that all you perfect people are done making yourselves feel superior to someone you know nothing about. How about we let the women get on with her time and her life.

  • unoxymoron
    October 14, 2011 - 12:18

    What she did was possibly worse than Sean Buckingham's crimes. She must have gotten the two years for the bag of weed. She probably had all the other charges dropped. 2 years? They should've thrown her to the WOLVES!

  • Ken
    October 14, 2011 - 11:16

    She is nothing more that an idiot and so is Noonan for making such a stupid comment. She deserves a hell of a lot more time than what she got. It is scum like her all parents try to protect their children from. Cry me a river, Noonan.

  • Heather
    October 14, 2011 - 11:02

    "She has completed treatment programs and is determined to better her life" - Well now - how does drinking at a bar fit into that determination? I am sick to death of being asked to pity those who have messed up their lives because of additions.

  • A grandmother
    October 14, 2011 - 10:40

    To her lawyer who said she was humiliated. That implies someone did something to her. I think the word you should have used was ashamed, and so she should be. Parents are out there hoping against hope that their children will somehow escape the pitfalls of growing into adults and along comes a leech of society, old enough to be a grandmother, who peddles the poison which eventually reaches kids who are too young to handle the temptation. Two years is not near enough.

  • brad
    October 14, 2011 - 10:18

    Are you kidding me 2 years for what she did???? She should be humiliated...the lives she ruined and the fraud she undertook.....she should have received more jail time,..!!!!!

  • Suzanne
    October 14, 2011 - 09:37

    In my opinion, Anne Marie Burke walked into the courtroom, not embarrassed, not remorseful, but angry that the reporters had the audacity to have their cameras focused on her! If she were truly sorry, she would have looked the part! Imagine....she had social services cheques in her possession! What kind of a parasite does that? She helped ruin alot of lives, her own included!

    • Carol Ann Rogers
      October 14, 2011 - 11:46

      i totally agree with Suzanne. This woman stared at the camera she did not act ashamed of her actions she acted arrogant as if how dare they put the camera on me.

  • Kevin Power
    October 14, 2011 - 09:33

    I have known the Burke family for all of my life and my parents were friends of their parents. They are a very well respected family and Ann Marie's actions is not indicative of her traits. She certainly has made some serious judgment errors and undoubtedly has some personal issues including addictions. She is paying a severe price for her actions and rightfully so, she was in a position of trust and was in a business of dealing in drugs as a licensed pharmacist. My heart goes out to her family members. This is a waste of a persons education and skills.

  • Wanda
    October 14, 2011 - 08:54

    Poor baby....she lost her career, as well as her relationship with her family. She did not lose her career or family relationships; she threw them away.

  • Regina Williams
    October 14, 2011 - 07:57

    Pills, Pills & more Pills thats all I ever seen in St John's, wake up St. Johns????????

  • Leah
    October 14, 2011 - 07:52

    She SHOULD BE embarrassed and humiliated for what she did, as well as lose respect, and her future career. She is a Pharmacist, for heaven's sake, and abused her position for personal situations. Good thing that she did get caught or else how much worse would she be today. There are consequences to every decision and choice we make, so now she has to face her's. She brought this all on herself, so Jon Noonan, stop with the pity story.

  • MR
    October 14, 2011 - 07:46

    I feel sorry for her. No wait, I feel sorry for the ones on social services that used their cheques for food and rent on drugs, or the people that bought the drugs and then didn't have the money for more so they broke in to a house, or the victims of the breakin. How many times do we hear that people on drugs are the victims. They are not.