Current & Curious: It's a "no brainer"...oh but you should decide on your own!?

Denroy Berbeck attempted to smuggle some cocaine into cocaine by swallowing capsules full of cocaine. He was caught. At trial he claimed he acted under duress. He was acquitted. The Crown appealed. The appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal, which held that the trial judge was merely offering advice, not direction, in telling the jury was a "no brainer": 2013 ONCA 241.


While ‘vacationing’ in Jamaica, Berbeck swallowed a bunch of capsules filled with cocaine. He then got on a plane and returned home to Toronto. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers were suspicious when they discovered that a visibly nervous Berbeck had gone to Jamaica for only four days, that he was travelling alone and that he had purchased his ticket with cash. An ion scan of some of Berbeck’s personal effects revealed the presence of cocaine. After several hours in CBSA custody, a couple of calls to duty counsel and after numerous interactions with CBSA officers Berbeck finally admitted to having swallowed the cocaine capsules. Berbeck was arrested and taken to hospital as a precaution. Shortly after being discharged from the hospital Berbeck expelled the pellets of cocaine.

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