A man has been acquitted of trafficking 15 kilograms of cocaine after Toronto criminal lawyer Ryan Handlarski argued he was the unwitting victim of a major drug dealer.

An Ontario Superior Court jury found the man, 28, and his co-accused brother, 32, not guilty of trafficking the cocaine, although they found the older brother guilty on several other counts. 

Handlarski, principal of RH Criminal Defence, argued before the jury that his client was unknowingly transporting the drugs in his car.

“Very often these cases come down to issues of knowledge and control,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com. “These sorts of things do happen, where people are tasked with doing things but they don’t have full knowledge of the circumstances.”

His client often drove his brother, whose driver’s licence was suspended, to numerous meetings and appointments around Toronto. The brother was a business associate of a wealthy man for whom he performed various services, including carrying large quantities of money for transactions at cash-for-gold stores.

The Crown alleged the two brothers knowingly transported illicit drugs for the man as well as large quantities of money that were the proceeds of crime.

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