The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Man cleared of drug trafficking charges after star witness fails to identify accused in court

Tuesday, 16 October 2018, 17:11 Last update: about 29 days ago

A man has been cleared of drug trafficking charges after the prosecution's star witness who claimed to have trafficked drugs for the accused, failed to identify him in court.

40-year old Freddie Delia from Zabbar had been investigated by the police over cocaine and heroin procurement after his name came up in the course of police investigations over a fatal overdose in 2009.

A mobile number found in the possession of the victim had been traced to a man who, when questioned, claimed that the number was Delia's.

ADVERTISEMENT

This man had released a statement claiming that Freddie Delia would supply him with heroin and cocaine for trafficking, and that they would share the profits between them.

But when testifying in court against Delia, the witness had failed to identify the accused. He confirmed that he used to obtain the drugs from a man whose name he did not know but who was depicted in a photograph. However despite the photo being of the accused, he insisted that that man in the dock was not the same person.

Delia himself also denied all the allegations, testifying that he had never sold drugs to the witness nor procured drugs for trafficking, but confirming that the two had occasionally shared drugs for their own personal use. The accused confessed to having had a drug habit which he had overcome in 2011.

Magistrate Neville Camilleri, presiding over the case, observed that the case pivoted upon the credibility of the two witnesses who had given conflicting versions.

In this case the court found it hardly credible that the main prosecution witness who had testified before a different magistrate, had stated that he did not know the person from whom he bought the drugs. The witness was fined €100 fine for contempt of court and warned of the consequences of false testimony.

The witness repeated that he "had no idea of Freddie Delia and had never heard of him," a statement which lacked credibility said the magistrate,noting that the photo and the man were readily identifiable as the same person.

The court pointed out that the prosecution had centred its case around the witness' statement in which he had named the accused and that there was no other evidence with which to convict the man. No illicit substances or drug-trafficking paraphernalia had been found at the man's home, noted the court. The prosecution had not even proved the ownership of the mobile number which had allegedly belonged to the accused, declared the court.

"Should the court believe everything that was said by [the witness] when there was no further evidence in the acts of the case? The answer is:No!" said the magistrate, adding that it did not find the version reliable.

Delia was found not guilty of all charges, the court ordering the Commissioner of Police to investigate the witness for possible perjury.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia were defence counsel.

 


  • don't miss