GG grants early release to Canadian serving time for drug smuggling

A Canadian man who was sentenced to two years and six months for attempting to smuggle 20 pounds of cocaine from Jamaica has been granted an early release by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen.

A news release yesterday from King’s House, the governor general’s official residence, said the man, John Edwards, left Jamaica on Wednesday under special conditions and at a cost to the Canadian Government.

Edwards had appeared in the St James Parish Court in November 2018 after being arrested in September when he was caught attempting to export the cocaine to Canada.

A mandatory two-year imprisonment was among the penalties handed down to Edwards and he was fined $1 million or six months’ imprisonment for possession of cocaine and $2 million or six months’ for attempting to export cocaine.

The sentences were to run consecutively to the mandatory sentence if the fines were not paid.

Yesterday, King’s House said Edwards was scheduled for release on July 6, 2020.

However, he maintained a record of discipline and good behaviour with no breach of rules since imprisonment.

According to King’s House, the current COVID-19 pandemic and its uncertainty, particularly as it relates to travel, also influenced the governor general’s decision to exercise the prerogative of mercy.

King’s House also explained that in exercising the prerogative of mercy — including the power to grant pardon to any person who has been sentenced to death — the governor general acts on the advice of the Jamaican Privy Council.

Additionally, he exercises the prerogative of mercy on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.

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