SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick — John Bennett said he was so driven to protect his girlfriend from an imminent threat that he was willing to break international laws trying to do it.

His actions have cost him two months in jail, according to a report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Canadian officials say the 25-year-old Bennett, of Calais, was denied entry into the country at the border crossing in Calais/St. Stephen, New Brunswick, on Wednesday because of a pending criminal mischief charge in the United States.

“He was told by the officer that until he got those cleared up, he wouldn’t be admitted into Canada,” prosecutor Peter Thorn told the CBC.

Officials said Bennett told police he circled back to the Wal-Mart in Calais, bought an air mattress, inflated it and used a wooden board to paddle across the St. Croix River into St. Stephen.

A local resident spotted Bennett and called police. He was later arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and charged with failing to appear at the border crossing as required by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

“He was wet and carrying his boots … (and) walking towards the town,” Thorn, a lawyer representing the federal Public Prosecution Service of Canada, told the CBC.

The Calais resident told police he was worried about the safety of his pregnant Canadian girlfriend.

“He said she had an ex-boyfriend who was threatening her, but that hasn’t been confirmed by the other party,” Thorn told the CBC.

Thorn also told the CBC that the judge in the case told the accused: “Pardon the pun, but it seems to me you wanted to get there, come hell or high water.”

Canadian officials said Bennett will be deported when he completes his sentence.


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