NATION

14 Years Each For Drug Pair

Australian national Joseph Nayef Abourizk and Lautoka taxi driver Josese Muriwaqa were each sentenced to 14 years in jail after they appeared at the High Court in Lautoka yesterday. The
30 Apr 2016 08:00
14 Years Each For Drug Pair
Joseph Nayef Abourizk (with black tie), and Josese Muriwaqa (in striped tie) outside the High Court in Lautoka.

Australian national Joseph Nayef Abourizk and Lautoka taxi driver Josese Muriwaqa were each sentenced to 14 years in jail after they appeared at the High Court in Lautoka yesterday.

The two were found guilty of unlawful possession of illicit drugs contrary to Section 5 (a) of the Illicit Drugs Control Act 2004.

The men were found in possession of 49.9 kilograms of cocaine in Vuda, Lautoka on July 13 last year.

A total of 34 parcels wrapped with plastic wrappers and masking tapes were confiscated from them and after the analysis report of the drugs it was proved that 17 parcels had 76 per cent purity of cocaine, three parcels had 62 per cent purity and the remaining fourteen had 54 per cent purity.

Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe said the two had breached the law and order of the country.

“You both had no respect and regard to the law and order of this country,” Justice Rajasinghe said.

He said the good character reference of the two submitted as part of mitigation carried less mitigatory value because of the seriousness of the offence.

Justice Rajasinghe said the two were equally responsible for the act of possession of illicit drugs and would serve the same judgement.

Sixteen years of interim imprisonment period was reduced to 14 years because of the mitigatory factors and the time the two had spent in remand custody prior to the sentencing.

The two accused are not eligible for parole for a period of 12 years pursuant to Section 18 (1) of the Sentencing and Penalties Decree 2009.

Outside court, Abourizk said they would appeal their sentencing to the Fiji Court of Appeal.

Abourizk’s lawyer Warwick Korn said outside court: “It was a harsh sentence and certainly we do not agree with some parts of the sentencing and that is what the appeal is for.”

Both Abourizk and Muriwaqa have 30 days to appeal.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  kathrin.krishna@fijisun.com.fj



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