A practical joke from beyond the grave?

I found this news report both amusing and . . . well, a little weird.

[Russell] Laight was flying from England to Halifax when his flight was diverted to Newfoundland. He was on his way to meet a friend in Nova Scotia and, together, they planned to spread the ashes of their friend Simon Darby.

Laight said border agents first flagged the ashes as he was going through customs, and tested them for illegal substances.

When test results came back positive for ketamine, Laight said he was held in the provincial courthouse lockup for five nights.

. . .

Laight said his time in prison was dreadful — he wasn’t permitted to take his medications when needed, he had to use a toilet next to strangers and he was kept in a confined, dark space.

“I was treated like a criminal and all privileges taken away,” he said.

“It was just a shock to be honest. Being treated a bit like a dog, as a criminal, looked down upon, civil liberties taken away.”

After tests in Ottawa determined the ashes did not contain ketamine, Laight was released from custody on March 7 and he proceeded to Nova Scotia as planned.

. . .

“I can imagine my mate Simon sitting up there shaking his finger, telling me to pull my head out my backside sometimes and check the itinerary properly,” Laight said, laughing.

“Simon’s a bit of a comedian, he’d just be laughing at it at the moment saying, ‘Yeah you made the mistake, you learn the hard way.'”

There’s more at the link.

The deceased had been prescribed ketamine as a painkiller before he died;  but I was surprised to learn that traces of the drug could survive cremation, and show up in his ashes.  I wouldn’t have expected that.  The other lesson from this case was that Mr. Laight didn’t fill out the Customs paperwork declaring that he was carrying human cremains, or carry them in a ‘typical’ container (they were in a plastic bag), or provide any official evidence as to what they were (which had to be provided by family and friends while he was in custody).  Given that lapse of judgment, plus the positive test for ketamine, it’s not surprising that Customs thought they had a ‘live one’ (you should pardon the expression).


1 comment

  1. Peter,
    My impression is this.
    No paperwork about the contents of the plastic bag.
    Newfoundland tests show KETAMINE in the contents of bag, owner of the bag is held in custody for five nights, no access to personal legal (?) medications,- whatever they are, for whatever reasons.
    Ottowa tests reveal NO Ketamine.
    Person is released, no charges.
    What happened here?.

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