Crime & Court

Nadi Woman Acquitted Of Drug Charges Due To Missing Evidence

Jahan was charged with one count of unlawful possession of illicit drugs namely cannabis sativa weighing 1173.2 grams contrary to Section 5(a) of the Illicit Drugs Control Act 2004.
04 Apr 2021 15:29
Nadi Woman Acquitted Of Drug Charges Due To Missing Evidence

The Nadi Magistrates Court acquitted a woman who was initially charged with unlawful possession of illicit drugs on March 31.

Nafeesa Jahan appeared before Magistrate Peni Dalituicama represented by lawyer Siddiq Faizal Koya while the prosecution was represented by Sergeant Ana Matanawai.

Jahan was charged with one count of unlawful possession of illicit drugs namely cannabis sativa weighing 1173.2 grams contrary to Section 5(a) of the Illicit Drugs Control Act 2004.

Mr Koya told the court the record of interview recorded by one Police officer was later stated to in fact have been recorded by another Police officer who is no longer in the Fiji Police Force.

The court heard that the prosecution acknowledged the inadmissibility of the caution interview and the court held the same to be inadmissible.

Ms Matanawai told the court that given the charge was of unlawful possession of illicit drugs, there needed to be a chain of custody established for the alleged drugs by the prosecution to prove its case, which could not be done as the Police officer who took the drugs to Suva for analysis was no longer with the Fiji Police Force.

The court heard that the prosecution’s exhibit of the sample of substance weighing 1173.2g was missing as neither the sample, nor the exhibit record could be located.

Ms Matanawai told the court that the prosecution moved to have the matter adjourned to liaise with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for approval to withdraw the matter.

Mr Koya told the court he objected to this as the exhibit was missing and in the interest of justice as well as his client’s constitutional rights to a fair trial, an acquittal was sought.

Magistrate Dalituicama ruled against the adjournment of the matter and acquitted Jahan of her charges due to the absence of proper evidence and other elements of the case.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: salote.qalubau@fijisun.com.fj



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