Three years’ jail on conspiracy to traffic cannabis

Msida man gets three years and €5,000 fine for admitting to charges of conspiracy to traffic cannabis and possession of ecstasy and cocaine.

A court has jailed an Msida man for three years and fined him €5,000 after he admitted to charges of conspiracy to traffic cannabis and possession of ecstasy and cocaine.

Acting on a tip off, police had stopped a Peugeot 405 in September 2007 in the vicinity of Savoy hill, Sliema following a tip off. Justin Zahra, a minor and an unidentified female were in the car.

Zahra was found to be carrying a suspicious-looking substance on his person- later confirmed to be 247g cannabis resin, together with a single ecstasy pill.

In her judgment, Magistrate Miriam Hayman expressed concern at the fact that the minor, who was 17 at the time of his arrest had released a statement to the police without his lawyer being present.

For this reason, she disregarded his statement, adding that “it would have been of greater comfort to the court, had he been accompanied by a responsible adult”, on account of his vulnerability.

This vulnerability did not apply to Zahra, however, who was 20 at the time of the offence. Zahra had admitted to being in possession of cannabis, which he said he had bought from a man in Qormi and which he intended to sell. In his statement he had also admitted to attempting to sell cannabis on other occasions but these deals had fallen through as he was charging too much. He had been smoking cannabis for four years and taking ecstasy for one. He admitted to having tried cocaine.

The court cleared the minor of all charges apart from simple possession, releasing him on a two-year conditional discharge. Zahra, however, was found guilty of all charges, sentenced to three years' incarceration and fined €5,000.