Drug addict not guilty of trafficking

The only substance presented as evidence was bicarbonate of soda

A 36-year-old man from Floriana was acquitted of drug trafficking today when a court decided that the prosecution had failed to prove he was responsible for manufacturing crack from cocaine, a process considered to be trafficking at law.

Denis Cremona had been found in possession of various drug-related items during a raid upon his residence by officers from the drug squad. The court heard how the items discovered included a set of electronic scales, bicarbonate of soda, a pipe, plastic bags, a penknife, a teaspoon, a box of razors and two knives.

The court, presided by magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras, was told that at the time of the raid the accused was accompanied by a friend named Jason Bugeja who was carrying a sachet of white powder. The accused alleged that Mr Bugeja had gone to his house to smoke crack and insisted that the drug had been provided by his friend.

The accused, a cocaine and heroin addict for the last 10 years, denied having manufactured the crack and insisted that he had only shared the drug which his friend had procured.

Mr Bugeja had admitted that the drug found at the accused's residence was truly his, but alleged that he had gone there because he did not know how to transform the cocaine into crack.

It was observed that court expert Godwin Sammut had testified that though traces of cocaine were found on the pipes used to burn the drug and on the scales, no traces were discovered on the knives, the penknife and teaspoon.

The court noted that the only substance presented as evidence during the proceedings was the bicarbonate of soda. The white substance found in Mr Bugeja’s possession had never been exhibited and the court could not ascertain that it was cocaine or crack. While there was sufficient evidence proving that the drug had been procured by Mr Bugeja, the prosecution had failed to prove that the accused dealt in cocaine.

Inspector Nikolai Sant prosecuted.