Man to conduct own defence in cocaine trafficking jury trial

When the jury that will try Kingsley Wilcox empanelled this morning, the man informed judge Edwina Grima that he would not be engaging a lawyer to defend him

A man indicted in connection with the discovery of several bags of cocaine, stashed in a suitcase at a hotel in 2012 will be conducting his own defence in his trial by jury.

When the jury that will try Kingsley Wilcox, a 35-year-old man from Nigeria, was empanelled this morning, Wilcox informed judge Edwina Grima that he would not be engaging a lawyer to defend him.

Wilcox is believed to be facing a possible life sentence after he was indicted for conspiracy to traffic cocaine and selling the drug.

He was arrested following an investigation into another Nigerian man, Paul Ugochukwu, who was stopped on suspicion that he was carrying drugs as he arrived on a flight from Spain on October 2012. Although no drugs were found on his person, police had found a text message he sent to a Spanish man, Jose Manuel Domingo Benito, instructing him to seek accommodation at the Tropicana Hotel in Paceville.

When the police raided the Spaniard's hotel room, they had found two sealed packages containing just over a kilogramme of what they suspect to be cocaine in the suitcase as well as traces of cannabis grass on the desk in the hotel room.

Wilcox was arrested after the police conducted a controlled delivery of the drugs, estimated as having a street value of €86,824.

The prosecution claim that Wilcox had intended to meet Benito in order to collect the cocaine “in exchange for a considerable sum of money” and that Wilcox had made arrangements to meet with other persons in Malta after taking charge of the drugs so as to hand them over for eventual distribution. Benito and unnamed Maltese nationals involved in the importation operation had also been arrested and were charged separately.

Lawyers Nadia Attard and Kristina Debattista from the Office of the Attorney General are prosecuting.