Drugs mule breaks down under cross-examination

A convicted drugs mule who smuggled fentanyl into Bermuda broke down in tears yesterday as she recounted how doctors told her she could have died after the rupture of one of the drug pellets she had swallowed.

Canadian Jacqueline Robinson said that her boyfriend, Craig Lawrence, had threatened her and made her swallow 45 pellets of what she thought was marijuana on the morning they flew from Toronto to Bermuda.

She told Supreme Court jurors that after arriving in Bermuda in December 2016, she gave the drug pellets to Mr Lawrence after they had passed through her system adding that “after I gave him the pellets they were gone”.

Under cross-examination, Ms Robinson rejected Mr Lawrence’s lawyer, Mark Pettingill’s, suggestion that his client was “something of a patsy”.

Mr Pettingill said: “It was, in fact, Stephanie who got you to swallow the pellets in Canada?”

Ms Robinson replied: “No, it was Mr Lawrence.”

Mr Pettingill continued: “When you were at the hotel at Stephanie’s direction, you were dealing with the pellets with someone else who was coming to your room?”

Ms Robinson responded: “No.”

The jury has heard that Ms Robinson and Mr Lawrence arrived in Bermuda on December 15, 2016 and stayed at the Hamilton Princess Hotel and Beach Club.

Earlier in the trial, Ms Robinson said that on the morning they left Toronto, Mr Lawrence told her to swallow the 45 pellets if she “ever wanted to go home again”.

Yesterday, Mr Pettingill said to Ms Robinson: “I’m going to suggest to you that Mr Lawrence never in any way threatened you with regard to swallowing the pellets.”

She replied: “And I am going to tell you that he did.”

He then asked Ms Robinson why she had not alerted anyone at the airport in Canada that she had been threatened and coerced into smuggling the drugs.

She replied: “I was scared. I made a mistake.”

The court has been told that Ms Robinson fell seriously ill on December 19 and had to be rushed to hospital having regurgitated 44 of the 45 pellets of fentanyl she had swallowed.

Mr Pettingill asked her: “While you were in hospital were you interested at any time if there was some type of deal for any help you gave?”. She replied: “No.”

Prosecutors allege that Mr Lawrence was part of the conspiracy to bring the drugs to Bermuda and supply them to others, while a third man, Maurice Martin, helped to find the couple a room at the hotel and collected the drug pellets from the hotel to supply to others.

Crown counsel Alan Richards has told the jury that one of the pellets that Ms Robinson had swallowed must have ruptured, which resulted in her being rushed to hospital.

Mr Pettingill questioned the prosecution’s version of events yesterday and suggested that Ms Robinson had broken open the last pellet and sniffed some of its contents believing it to be cocaine.

He said: “I am suggesting to you that you had a pellet that you had not handed over and, perhaps thinking it was marijuana, you split it open and saw it contained a white powder.

“That is why when you were in hospital and the nurse was asking you about what you had swallowed, you said ‘coke’.”

Ms Robinson started crying when Mr Pettingill showed her a handwritten transcript that was made of the exchange between her and the nurse at the hospital.

She rejected the lawyer’s suggestion, saying: “I never saw what was inside any of the pellets.”

Ms Robinson has admitted her involvement in the plot to smuggle drugs into Bermuda and has been jailed for seven years.

Mr Lawrence denies conspiracy to import a controlled drug and also conspiracy to supply a controlled drug. Mr Martin denies conspiracy to supply a controlled drug.

The case continues.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.

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