The Malta Independent 25 September 2018, Tuesday

Man acquitted of ordering, importing mephedrone

Thursday, 8 March 2018, 12:30 Last update: about 8 months ago

A man who used “legal highs” to overcome his anxiety has been cleared of ordering mephedrone online after it emerged that he had ordered a legal drug and was sent an illegal one instead.

Stefan Scicluna, 29, was charged with the importation and possession of mephedrone - a highly dangerous recreational drug nicknamed ‘bath salts.’

The accused had suffered from severe anxiety, brought on in part by his mother’s death from Huntington’s Disease - a hereditary condition.

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He had been arrested following a controlled delivery in 2012. 600g of mephedrone were found in the package which had been mailed to him from China.

He had been smoking legal highs for about a year, he said, explaining that the package he had ordered from China was supposed to contain AM2201 - a synthetic cannabinoid. Normally he would receive the substances from America, he said.

He acknowledged that he had ordered the package, but said that had no idea that it contained mephedrone. He denied selling or consuming mephedrone, saying he was well aware of the substance’s illegality.

The court chastised the prosecution that it observed that, while the prosecution had alleged that the substance had been found to be mephedrone, a court expert’s report reveals that this was not the case. It warned that references to the acts of the case should always be made correctly and not in such as way as to mislead the court.

Magistrate Neville Camilleri ruled that the evidence was insufficient to find guilt on the charges. “Evidence in the criminal law sphere must indicate the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. That which emerges from the acts of the proceedings can only indicate several hypotheses and not certainty…”

The prosecution had based its case on certain facts, whilst excluding others and made a number of conjectures, said the court.

In the light of this, the court said it had not been proved to its satisfaction that  the accused had ordered mephedrone and the accused’s version was credible. Scicluna was acquitted.

 

 

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