Drugs raid on hotel room results in jail term for couple

The pair are no strangers to the court, with 32 previous convictions between them

A raid by drugs squad police on a hotel room in 2003 has resulted in a jail sentence for a couple earlier this week.

Police had raided the hotel room occupied by 31-year-old Ivan Bajada and 27-year-old Clare Borg on 19 February 2003, recovering 17.5 grams of heroin, divided into 9 packets, together with weighing scales, burnt tinfoil, LM142 in cash and other assorted drug paraphernalia.

The pair are no strangers to the courts. Bajada has eight previous drug convictions and Borg had 25, including 16 on prostitution-related charges and one for grievous bodily harm.

The pair were charged with aggravated possession of a controlled substance, in circumstances that denoted that it was not exclusively for their personal use. Whilst they did not contest the possession charge, they had claimed that the heroin was solely for their own use.

Bajada had testified that the two had moved into the hotel as their lease contract was running out, telling Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia that they would pool their money and buy everything together.

He admitted to being a heavy drug user who would buy in bulk and divide the drugs into doses covering three to four days. This, he said, explained the weighing scales. The sachets recovered from the hotel room would last two to three days at most, he said.

However the magistrate was not convinced by this explanation, noting that the bags were found to have been bought sealed and that this meant that he could only have used the scales to ensure that they had received the correct weight. “Had he found a lesser amount of the drug than agreed, he was hardly going to open a court case,” commented the magistrate.

The court also noted that a typical dose of heroin is 0.2grams. The 17.5 grams recovered would translate into the accused using 2.9 grams each, daily. This further cemented the argument that this was not for their sole consumption.

It further noted that while Bajada worked as a travel agent, Borg was unemployed and living on benefits. This did not explain the cash found in the room, nor did it explain the fact that they could afford to live in a hotel.

The court found both guilty of possession of heroin with intent to traffic and relapsing, sentencing Bajada to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of € 2000, while Borg was jailed for three years and ordered to pay a fine of €3000.

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