© — File photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
Pharmacists Lloyd Matthew Bennett (left) and John Gerald Whalen
By Rosie Gillingham
One of the two St. John’s pharmacists accused of unlawfully dispensing prescription drugs and failing to keep proper records has been committed to stand trial.
Lloyd Matthew Bennett — owner of East End Pharmacy on Mount Cashel Road — will be tried at Newfoundland Supreme Court on two counts of fraud over $5,000 and single counts of uttering a false document and making a false document.
Judge David Orr made that ruling Friday morning in provincial court, following a lengthy preliminary inquiry.
Federal charges dealing with violations under the Food and Drug Act (FDA) for failing to retain a written prescription and trafficking in a controlled substance are expected to be resolved.
Bennett’s lawyer, Nick Westera, indicated the federal charges will be settled during the next court appearance May 27.
Westera told the judge that Bennett will re-elect to be tried by a judge and jury rather than a Supreme Court judge only.
The company — which has also been charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000 and breaching the FDA — was also committed to stand trial.
The other pharmacist, John Gerald Whalen — who faces similar charges to Bennett — waived his right to a preliminary inquiry and his case will go to trial if the matter is not dealt with before then.
The offences date back to 2004.
The case involving all three defendants will be back in court May 27.
In March, the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board disciplined the two pharmacists for improperly dispensing prescription drugs and failing to keep proper records after hearings were held in February.
Bennett’s licence to practise pharmacy has been suspended for five years, while Whalen’s licence was suspended for three years.
The board also fined both men — $40,000 for Bennett and $20,000 for Whalen. Hearings were held last month where both pleaded guilty to some violations.