13 Nov 2008

A Montreal man serving time for drug smuggling has walked to freedom after authorities said he was too fat to be kept in jail. 

Michel Lapointe - also known as Big Mike - was set free three months before his scheduled release date because his 30st weight was making prison life "hell".

The 37-year-old had served 25 months for drug trafficking, conspiracy and gangsterism.

"In the end, some might say he got off easy," Mr Lapointe's lawyer Clemente Monterosso was quoted as saying by Canada's Globe And Mail newspaper.

"But he didn't choose to be morbidly obese. This man is a colossus."

Lapointe reportedly could not fit his legs under the prison tables for meals and his mattress was too narrow to accommodate his bulk.

He also complained he could not shower properly.

Footage from Canadian broadcaster CTV showed the outsize prisoner heading to court.

The Quebec parole board cited his good behaviour, his non-violent crime and the support of his wife and mother, along with his weight as reasons for his early release.

"You have been incarcerated for over 25 months and your prison conditions are difficult because of the state of your health," the board said in its report.

Following his release, Lapointe told reporters he was looking forward to getting on with his life.



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