Crime

4 Denied Bail In $35 Million Drug Case

Two businessmen are among four men, denied bail by the Nadi Magistrates Court in Fiji’s first drug trafficking case to Australia.
05 Nov 2019 10:00
4 Denied Bail In $35 Million Drug Case
Pravishek Narayan, Shaniel Suresh Autar, Rosheel Kumar and Marc Winston Tjin Konnoen.

Two businessmen are among four men, denied bail by the Nadi Magistrates Court in Fiji’s first drug trafficking case to Australia.

It is alleged that they supplied 39.36kg of cocaine with a street value of FJD$35 million.

Marc Winston Tjin Konnoen, a Dutch national and businessman, 52, `of Drasa, Lautoka, Shaneil Suresh Autar, 25, a businessman of Adam Street in Lautoka, Rosheel Kumar, 35, self employed of Legalega Road, Nadi and Pravishek Kartik Narayan, 21, a university student of Nasoso in Nadi have all been charged with unlawful possession and supply of illicit drugs.

It is alleged that on October 7 this year, the four were engaged in dealing for the transfer, transport and supply of the cocaine.

Konnoen and Autar both face a second charge of exportation of illicit drugs. On October 8, they were alleged to have facilitated the exportation of 34 parcels, weighing approximately 39.36kg of cocaine.

Konnoen was represented by Dorsami Naidu, Autar by Jasveer Singh and Mun Sami Chetty and Kumar and Narayan by Sabrina Khan.

Mr Naidu told the court he had not been served the disclosures as yet and only their statements.

Before bail applications were made, Magistrate Nil Mini Fernandez indicated that she would not be allowing bail for all accused.

Mr Naidu said Konnoen had a partner and child and no previous conviction and there was no evidence in court that he would not attend future trial dates.

He said Konnoen had a surety and was willing to pay cash bail.

Marc Winston Tjin Konnoen.

Marc Winston Tjin Konnoen.

He also asked the court for the release of certain items belonging to the accused and his partner which Police had, but were not connected to the investigation

Mr Singh said his client had a fixed address and was a businessman besides looking after his parents.

Shaniel Suresh Autar.

Shaniel Suresh Autar.

He said Autar had no previous convictions, was not a flight risk, had suitable sureties and would abide by strict bail conditions imposed by the court.

“The prosecution cannot speculate that the accused would re-offend,” Mr Singh said.

However, Ms Khan pleaded with the court that she had a right to be heard and that her clients had been caught at the wrong place at the wrong time.

She said Narayan had exams coming up next week.

Pravishek Narayan.

Pravishek Narayan.

Ms Khan said her clients were university students and ought to be given clemency with the presumption that they were innocent until proven guilty.

“I have their passports and have two sureties for each accused person,” Ms Khan said adding her clients would surrender themselves to court as per required dates.

She concluded by informing the court that it was in fact her clients who had helped Police close their investigation.

Rosheel Kumar.

Rosheel Kumar.

“While the other two accused faced two counts, my clients both face only one count.”

In opposing bail, Inspector Parmesh Chand, said the case was of national interest and involved a large amount of illicit drugs.

He said the hard drugs were a threat to members of the public, especially youths.

He also said that all the accused were a flight risk.

Ms Fernandez has set November 13 for the four men to appear at the High Court in Lautoka where fresh bail applications would be made.

Feedback: nicolette.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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