Attorney-at Law Anslem Clouden is seeking to get the High Court to throw out a ganja charge against two of his clients on the grounds that the police cannot properly account for a large amount of the drugs.
The seasoned defense lawyer will be asking the court to hand down “a directive verdict of not guilty” or to declare “a mistrial” in a matter involving Nigel Murray who was nabbed by members of the Drug Squad in connection with 208 lbs of marijuana in October 2009.
Clouden would seek to convince the high court judge, Justice Madam Margaret Price-Findlay that the evidence to be used to incriminate his client has been tampered with by the law enforcement authorities.
THE NEW TODAY understands that it has emerged in the ongoing trial that there is a great disparity in the weight of the recovered drugs that saw the police brought charges against Murray and co-accused Murrel John.
The two, considered as regulars on “Four Roads” in the city were charged with being in possession of a controlled drug and trafficking a controlled drug (cannabis).
A well-placed source told this newspaper that when the police apprehended the men, the marijuana weighed 208 pounds at the time but six months later, when it was taken to the Chemical Analyst, it was approximately 73 pounds short, and carried a weight then of approximately 135 pounds.
State Prosecutors have offered an explanation saying that over time the marijuana would lose weight as it gets much drier and that nothing unusual took place.
One official said that the ganja can weigh much less over a period of time depending on the conditions where it was stored by the police.
He stated that Clouden had a good chance of succeeding if it turns out that the police had caught the men with five bags of ganja and then the lawmen were only able to present four bags in giving evidence before the court in the trial.
A source close to Clouden quoted him as saying that due to the fact that the two weights of the same confiscated drugs are now different, the accused men “cannot have a fair trial” and he would be making a submission to the court to declare a mistrial.
“The Exhibit Keeper cannot give account of what happened to the evidence, from the time it was confiscated up to the time it was brought to the lab for testing. I am planning to make a submission that they have been tampering with the evidence, there should be a directive verdict of not guilty or a mistrial”, the attorney was
reported as saying.
The two accused who are currently on bail, have not taken responsibility for the illicit drugs.
At the time of the incident, the police claimed that the drugs were allegedly recovered inside a vehicle that was being driven by Murray in the vicinity of the Grand Mal area of St George.
Murray, who took to the stand and was cross-examined Monday, told the
court that he was unaware of the illegal contents in the packages and was led to believe that he was transporting whiskey and cigarettes.
The accused was trying to convince the judge and jury that he was sent on a mission by someone to collect goods for him but he did not know that it was ganja.
Murray said on oath that the first time he saw the illegal substance was when the arresting officer cut the packages open.
The Drug Squad reportedly swooped down on the vehicle based on a tip-off received of illegal activities taking place in the area.
Justice Price-Findlay was hoping to conclude the Murray-John drug related charges on Monday.