Zabbar man jailed for 2005 drug bust

Court rejects argument of trafficking by sharing

Oscar Cassar, 51, of Zabbar was today found guilty of having trafficked and of being in possession of heroin in 2005. He was also found guilty of relapsing.

In March 2005, acting on an anonymous tipoff, the Drugs Squad had raided a garage in Zabbar where they found drug paraphernalia; used syringes, improvised tourniquets, tinfoil, a spoon and a lighter.

Cassar, who was a known drug user at the time, had told the police that he had purchased the drugs in Bormla and was joined in the garage by a friend with whom he shared the drugs.

The defence had argued that the accused was sharing, however the court held that the accused had sold some to a friend on at least one occasion.

The court noted that although the accused had not signed the statement he made during his interrogation, he did not allege any mistreatment or threats on the part of the police and no plea to this effect was entered by the defence.  The court held that “in spite of the fact that a lawyer was not present, there was nothing illicit about the statement”.

Magistrate Sciberras took into consideration the fact that, in spite of the fact that the accused had not confessed to the charges, he had cooperated with the police in the course of their investigation.

On the other hand, it also noted the accused’s colourful criminal record and 6 previous convictions for heroin possession, another one for cannabis and various probation orders, conditional discharges and a fine.

Although it described the amount of drugs involved as “minimal”, the court found Cassar guilty of and possession and trafficking, sentencing him to 6 months imprisonment and a fine of €600. Cassar was also condemned to pay the court expenses involved in appointing experts, which amounted €157.59.