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Claim of innocence on drugs implausible, court told

A man’s claim that he was an unwitting pawn in a drug-smuggling operation is a poor cover to hide his role in the scheme, a Supreme Court jury heard yesterday.

Alan Richards, for the Crown, told the jury that Edward Jelani Albuoy, 29, should have had the forethought to search a set of bags a friend asked him to take to Bermuda while in Britain.

During his closing statement, Mr Richards told the court that there was no possible way for Mr Albuoy to not have noticed the 5½ kilograms of drugs stashed in his suitcase.

He added: “When you look at the totality of the evidence, you will realise that not only is his story completely implausible, but that it only works if you accept one crucial detail — that Mr Albuoy purposefully played an integral part of that plan.”

Mr Albuoy, whose trial started on July 20, has pleaded not guilty to importing MDMA — also known as ecstasy — cannabis and cannabis resin to the island.

He also denied three counts of possessing the drug with intent to supply.

The court heard earlier that Mr Albuoy had his luggage searched in LF Wade International Airport on September 3, 2017 and a customs officer found the drugs stashed away in bags full of T-shirts and diapers.

Mr Albuoy, who took the stand last week, said that he took the packages with him on behalf of a friend who wanted to gift another Bermudian friend with goods for his new family.

He added that both men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, refused to clear his name to the police.

Mr Richards said that Mr Albuoy’s story fell apart the more it was scrutinised.

He said earlier that Mr Albuoy would have questioned how his British friend, whom he met through school in the UK, had another Bermudian friend he did not know about.

Mr Richards instead called the ploy “a sophisticated plot” to get the drugs to the island.

Susan Mulligan, for the defence, said that her client was not a mastermind but instead someone who was trying to do a favour for a friend.

She said: “It is part of the Bermudian culture to be helpful.”

Ms Mulligan added that because he trusted his friend not to take advantage of him, Mr Albuoy would not have scrutinised the bags as much as customs officers did, or as much as Mr Richards said he would have.

Ms Mulligan admitted that there might have been changes in her client’s story as he told them.

“He wouldn’t have perfect recollection of a conversation he had six years ago,” she said.

The jury will deliberate on their verdict today.

• 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