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Canadian cleared of smuggling fentanyl

A man accused of smuggling the controlled drug fentanyl to Bermuda was found not guilty last night.

Craig Lawrence was also cleared by a Supreme Court jury of possessing the synthetic opiate with intent to supply.

The Canadian national from Markham, Ontario, had always denied importing the drugs sometime between an unknown date and December 15, 2016, and possessing the drug on December 20, 2016.

The jury sent a series of notes to the court during several hours of deliberations.

In response, Judge Charles-Etta Simmons told the jury that Mr Lawrence could be found guilty of the charges before them only if he knew the drug imported was fentanyl.

During the trial, the court heard evidence from Jacqueline Robinson that Mr Lawrence had invited her on an all-expenses-paid holiday shortly after they had started a relationship in Canada.

The jury heard that the couple spent the night before they were due to fly to Bermuda with friends of Mr Lawrence in a hotel.

Ms Robinson said that the next morning Mr Lawrence and another woman showed her a stash of drug pellets in the hotel bathroom and told her to swallow them.

She testified that Mr Lawrence told her the pellets contained cannabis, and that if she did not swallow them, she would never go home again.

Mr Lawrence and Robinson arrived in Bermuda on December 15, 2016, and the pair went to the Hamilton Princess Hotel and Beach Club, where she threw up 44 of the 45 pellets.

She then gave the pellets to Mr Lawrence, who put them in the hotel safe.

Robinson then fell ill, and was rushed to hospital.

According to prosecutors, the pellets contained fentanyl rather than cannabis, and a ruptured pellet caused her illness.

Robinson admitted her involvement in the plot to smuggle drugs into Bermuda at Supreme Court and had been jailed for seven years.

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Published February 14, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated February 14, 2018 at 7:00 am)

Canadian cleared of smuggling fentanyl

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