Barna Olvedi v. Her Majesty the Queen

(Ontario) (Criminal) (By Leave)


Criminal law - Offences, Elements of offence - Criminal law — Offences — Elements of offence — Mens rea — Knowledge — Wilful blindness — Recklessness — Whether an objective standard, such as recklessness, is equivalent to a subjective inquiry in offences for which knowledge is the requisite mens rea.


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A package sent from overseas and labelled as acrylic paint but actually containing fentanyl was addressed to the Ontario residence of the applicant, Barna Olvedi. The applicant accepted delivery of the package from an RCMP officer posing as a delivery person. He was subsequently arrested and claimed not to know what the contents of the package were or where it was from. Before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the applicant was convicted of importing fentanyl and possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking contrary to ss. 6(1) and 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, S.C. 1996, c. 19. On appeal, the applicant argued that the trial judge erred in her application of the wilful blindness doctrine to fulfil the fault requirements for both offences. The Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the appeal.