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Jamaican cleared in Bermuda illegal drug import case

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) — Maurice Martin, a 34-year-old Jamaican who survived a 2010 shooting that killed his friend, has been cleared by a Supreme Court of a plot to import fentanyl into Bermuda.

Justice Charles-Etta Simmons had earlier instructed the jury to find Martin not guilty of conspiring to import a controlled drug.

“As a result of one application that was made and a ruling I made on the law, I'm going to direct you to deliver a verdict of not guilty in respect of Mr Martin,” the judge said.

Martin's co-defendant, Craig Lawrence, 36, remains on trial. He has denied charges of conspiring to import a controlled drug and conspiracy to supply a controlled drug.

The court heard evidence from Jacqueline Robinson that Lawrence, her boyfriend, ordered her to swallow dozens of pellets before travelling to Bermuda. She testified she was told the pellets contained cannabis.

But the court was told they contained fentanyl, a synthetic opiate related to heroin.

Robinson, who is now in jail, arrived in Bermuda on December 15, 2016, and threw up 44 of the 45 pellets. Prosecutors said the remaining pellet ruptured, causing Robinson to fall ill.

Robinson, a 26-year-old Canadian from Courtice, Ontario, confirmed that she had earlier admitted her involvement in the plot to smuggle drugs into Bermuda and was jailed for seven years last year.

Prosecutors had alleged that Martin helped to find Robinson and Lawrence, of Markham, Ontario, a room at a Hamilton hotel and collected the drug pellets from the hotel to supply to others.

Eight years ago Martin was injured when his friend James Lawes, a 26-year-old Jamaican barber, was fatally shot outside a Pembroke parish restaurant. Lawes was talking to Martin and preparing to cut Martin's hair when he was caught in a hail of bullets, dying two days later.

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