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‘Trafficker’ acquitted

A marine mechanic from Santa Venera yesterday collapsed into a chair and wept as a judge cleared him of importing 21,000 ecstasy pills and half a kilogramme of cocaine hidden in the false panels of his van.

Matthew Bajada’s mother, who was sitting in the public gallery, blew kisses to the crucifix hanging behind Mr Justice Lawrence Quintano and beamed as he pronounced her son a free man.

Jurors had voted by six votes to three to acquit him of conspiring to deal in cocaine and ecstasy, importing the drugs, possession with the intent to sell and relapsing.

Mr Bajada, 30, had been facing a hefty jail term, especially since his co-accused, Joseph Camilleri, 56, of Rabat, had admitted to his involvement last year, and was jailed for 12 years and fined €20,000.

Taking the witness stand last week, Mr Bajada said he had travelled to Rotterdam in the van with Mr Camilleri after the latter promised him a job on an oil rig.

He insisted that Mr Camilleri was the mastermind behind the operation and he had no idea about the drugs until the pair got back to Malta.

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