Crime

Lawyer And Former Hibiscus Contestant Remanded

Lateef, 58, and Maharaj-Moore, 29, are jointly charged with three counts of possession of illicit drugs after being arrested from a home at Nailuva Road in Suva last Sunday during a Police raid.
17 Jul 2019 12:53
Lawyer And Former Hibiscus Contestant Remanded
Lawyer Shazran Abdul Lateef (LEFT) and Ex-Miss Hibiscus contestant Zoe Maharaj-Moore outside the Magistrates Court in Suva. Photo: Ashna Kumar

The Suva Magistrates Court will deliver a bail ruling today in the case of prominent Suva lawyer Shazran Abdul Lateef and his co-accused, former Miss Hibiscus contestant and activist Zoe Maharaj-Moore.

Lateef, 58, and Maharaj-Moore, 29, are jointly charged with three counts of possession of illicit drugs after being arrested from a home at Nailuva Road in Suva last Sunday during a Police raid.

The two appeared before Magistrate Jioji Boseiwaqa.

Charges

For the first offence of found in possession of illicit drugs, it is alleged that Lateef and Maharaj-Moore on July 14, 2019, at Raiwaqa, without lawful authority were in possession of 7.89 grams of methamphetamine, an illicit drug;

For the second offence of found in possession of illicit drugs, it is alleged that Lateef and Maharaj-Moore on July 14, 2019, at Raiwaqa, without lawful authority were in possession of 12.49 grams of cocaine, an illicit drug; and

For the third offence of found in possession of illicit drugs, it is alleged that Lateef and Maharaj-Moore on July 14, 2019, at Raiwaqa, without lawful authority were in possession of 2.5 grams of cannabis sativa, an illicit drug.

Lateef and Maharaj-Moore pleaded not guilty of the charges.

Prosecution’s case

Police prosecutor Woman Sergeant Prathna Devi served both accused persons with full phase of disclosures and objected to bail for both accused persons.

She told the court that the accused persons had pending matters of similar offences before the courts, the case was of public interest, both breached previous bail conditions by allegedly reoffending and both accused persons had admissions in their caution interviews.

Sergeant Devi asked for a formal bail application from both accused persons, saying the prosecution would then respond.

Defence case

A defence lawyer for Maharaj-Moore from the Legal Aid Commission told the court they would file a voir dire for the alleged admissions.

Maharaj-Moore’s lawyer told the court that his client disputed information that she previously breached bail conditions and had other pending matters.

He told the court that Maharaj-Moore had no other pending matters in any jurisdiction.

Lateef’s lawyer, Filimoni Vosarogo, told the court that there were no admissions for his client.

Mr Vosarogo also told the court that Lateef pleaded not guilty to the charges and the charges were allegations against his client.

He told the court that Lateef had the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty under the Constitution and that Police did not have any evidence against Lateef.

Mr Vosarogo submitted that the prosecution could not say that the drugs belonged to Lateef because nowhere in the charges was it stated that they were in possession of the drugs or that it was found in his room.

He told the court the charges were badly worded where it was stated that Lateef and Maharaj-Moore were jointly found together in possession.

Lateef and Maharaj-Moore were remanded in custody.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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