An inmate at a GTA jail was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for supplying the opioids that caused the overdose and death of another inmate.

Michael Fournier, of Cambridge, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and trafficking for distributing a drug mixture containing fentanyl and carfentanil to fellow inmates at Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton. Within minutes, several inmates overdosed, including Rattanbir Singh Sidhu, who died, according to Ruling by Halton Court Judge Ann-Marie Calsavarapublished at the end of last month.

Calsavara ruled that although Fournier “did not intend for this tragedy to occur,” his decision to traffic a dangerous drug to Sidhu, 24, on May 7, 2019, was the cause of his overdose death.

“The fact is that Mr. Fournier gave it to him. Not someone else. Mr. Sidhu took it immediately and soon after overdosed and died,” Calsavara wrote. “Accordingly, I find that the Crown has proven the elements of involuntary manslaughter.”

According to the ruling, the court heard that Fournier was one of the “powerful men” at the shooting range, who controlled the flow of contraband and goods into the jail.

At trial, Fournier did not dispute that he gave the drug to several inmates, but said he did not know it was laced with carfentanil, a drug 100 times more powerful than fentanyl and 10,000 times more powerful than morphine.

Fournier’s defense claimed that Sidhu used the drug willfully and deliberately, adding that he would have gotten the drug from someone else anyway.

Calsavara did not agree.

Sidhu overdosed on the table outside his cell about 20 minutes after Fournier gave him and several others the drug on the lines of a purple card. At 5:40 pm on May 7, one of Sidhu’s cellmates asked Fournier for permission to tell a guard about the overdose, but it was too late.

Guards and nursing staff performed CPR and administered several doses of naloxone before Sidhu died on the floor of the firing range outside his cell, Calsavara wrote.

Six inmates were taken to hospital after overdosing, including Fournier himself, the court heard.

At trial, Fournier testified that he was responsible for serving meals to inmates in Wing I of the jail, which consists of a 13-cell block.

Fournier’s defense claimed he was acting as a “buyer’s agent” and therefore not guilty of drug trafficking, adding that he would have faced violent repercussions from powerful inmates in the jail hierarchy had he not handed over. the drugs.

The judge also rejected those arguments.

“Once Mr. Fournier took the drug, divided it up, and delivered it from person to person, the crime was complete,” he wrote.

In recent years, police and prosecutors across the GTA have increasingly sought involuntary manslaughter convictions for people selling the deadly drugs fueling Ontario’s opioid crisis, but with mixed results.

Investigators tell the Star that the complexity of such cases makes it difficult to prosecute drug dealers for overdose deaths.

The justice system increasingly recognizes that fentanyl and related opiates are “so likely to cause death that by trafficking this drug, it is directly related to death,” said Const. York Regional Police. Laura Nicolle told the Star.

Jason Miller is a reporter for the Star based in Toronto, covering crime and justice in the Peel region. Contact him at email: [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic

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