Man cleared after ecstasy turns out to be paracetamol

The man was interrogated without a lawyer present with the court ruling that the statement he released to the police was therefore inadmissible

What was believed to be ecstasy turned out to be paracetamol
What was believed to be ecstasy turned out to be paracetamol

A court has acquitted a young man of possession of ecstasy and mephedrone after a court-appointed expert established that the sachets containing suspected illicit drugs, in fact contained paracetamol.

25-year-old Nathan Agius was arrested in June 2014 after police stopped a Mercedes, in which he was a passenger, in Qormi. A police officer had seen the accused throwing a small sachet of what appeared to be drugs out of the passenger window.

He was charged with possession of mephedrone and ecstasy.

Agius was interrogated without a lawyer being present, the right to legal assistance during interrogation not yet having entered into law at that point.

In a decision handed down earlier today, the court, presided by Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras, ruled the statement he had released to the police as inadmissible.

The other evidence in the case was the observation by a police constable that the accused had thrown a sachet of suspected drugs onto the ground. “It emerges, however, from the testimony of scientist Godwin Sammut, appointed by this court to analyse this substance, that the white powder in the plastic sachet was not an illegal substance. The white powder was established to be paracetamol.

In the light of this and the inadmissible statement of the accused, the court said that neither of the charges against Agius were proven and proceeded to acquit him. 

Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia were defence counsel.

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