NATION

Assessors Find Colombian National Not Guilty Of Drug Find

Assessors in the retrial of a Colombian national involved in a drug case have found him not guilty of importing illicit drugs. Aiden Alec Hurtado hopes to return home soon
21 Jun 2017 10:57
Assessors Find Colombian National Not Guilty Of Drug Find
Accused Aiden Alec Hurtado outside court in Suva on June 20, 2017 Photo: Arishma Devi-Narayan

Assessors in the retrial of a Colombian national involved in a drug case have found him not guilty of importing illicit drugs.

Aiden Alec Hurtado hopes to return home soon after spending at three years in remand.

He was on a retrial before High Court Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe who will deliver his judgment today.

Hurtado smiled after hearing the assessors’ verdict.

He was first arrested in 2014 and was acquitted in 2015.

The accused is charged with unlawful importation of illicit drugs, namely, cocaine.

It was alleged that Hurtado had imported 20.5 kilogrammes of cocaine into Fiji in 2014.

Hurtado was acquitted of the charge in November 2015, by Justice Salesi Temo after which a re-trial was ordered following a successful appeal by the state prosecution.

Justice Rajasinghe yesterday summed up the case before the assessors delivered their unanimous opinion.

It was heard in court that Hurtado had arrived in Fiji without his luggage which he understood would be on Inter Transfer by the airlines as he had travelled from Brazil to Sydney, Australia, and then to Fiji.

When his baggage arrived into Fiji, Hurtado was informed through one local helper that the Biosecurity needed to check his baggage by opening it.

Hurtado claimed that he had two bottles of very effective supplements inside his baggage.

Furthermore, the local helper who was also a prosecution witness, told the court that he had received a call from a man who had asked about the baggage.

Hurtado claimed he could barely understand English however most of the prosecution witnesses claimed he spoke simple broken English.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Michael Delaney had told the court that four containers of drugs were found in Hurtado’s bag, alleging that he had agreed to bring them from Brazil.

He had alleged that according to the facts of the case, it revealed that the bag was allegedly supposed to be given to someone in Sydney, Australia, upon his arrival there.

The accused is represented by Samanunu Vaniqi. 

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback:  arishma.devi@fijisun.com.fj



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