The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

Man cleared in ecstasy drug case dating back 10 years

Wednesday, 26 February 2020, 12:00 Last update: about 6 months ago

A man in whose car nine ecstasy tablets were found has been cleared after a court ruled that there was a doubt that the drugs were his, in a case dating back 10 years.

55-year-old Enrico Camilleri of Luqa had been accused of possession of ecstasy in 2010, after nine tablets were found in his car’s ashtray following a party at Ta Qali. The police had searched the man’s car after an anonymous tip-off, finding the drugs stashed in the ashtray, but Camilleri had denied any knowledge of the drugs.

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Camilleri had testified that he had given a lift to his girlfriend and two male acquaintances to the party that night. One of the men had sat in the front seat so he could smoke, with his friend and the driver’s girlfriend occupying the back seats. Shortly after entering the establishment where the party was being held, the accused had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend.

Some 20 minutes later, a group of plainclothes policemen had searched his person and found nothing. The police had found his car keys and asked him to open the vehicle up. He had done so and during the search, the police had found a small bag in the ashtray, containing the drugs.

The court, presided by magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras heard defence lawyers Edward Gatt and Veronique Dalli argue that the prosecution had not proven that the drugs were, in fact ecstasy and that the accused’s girlfriend was a drug addict. The accused would not use ecstasy, but would occasionally use cocaine, the court was told.

The magistrate said she did give much credence to the accused’s version of events, noting that he had allegedly picked up the two men just 500 metres away from their destination. But she also said the dynamics of the incident were suspicious, in that the police had been tipped off with all the details of the man and his vehicle, shortly after the accused had argued with his girlfriend. The girl had been spoken to by the police and later released.

The court noted that the accused was not found to be carrying any suspicious sums of money or drugs on his person and that his mobile phone had not been seized.

In view of the circumstances, not least the fact that the accused had not been alone in the vehicle, the court said the evidence provided did not offer a clear and convincing link between the accused and the pills, or that he even knew about them.

For this reason the court declared Camilleri innocent. The destruction of the drugs was ordered.

 

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