Jailed for trafficking cocaine at Gozo carnival

A man has been jailed for 8 months after a court found him guilty of possession and supplying of cocaine during the 2014 carnival in Gozo

Officers from the police Drugs Squad had noticed 31-year-old Ian Bonnici acting suspiciously in March 2014, in a parked jeep close to a nightclub in Rabat, Gozo, together with another man and a young woman
Officers from the police Drugs Squad had noticed 31-year-old Ian Bonnici acting suspiciously in March 2014, in a parked jeep close to a nightclub in Rabat, Gozo, together with another man and a young woman

A man from Gozo has been jailed for 8 months after a court found him guilty of possession and supplying of cocaine during the 2014 carnival in Gozo.

Officers from the police Drugs Squad had noticed 31-year-old Ian Bonnici acting suspiciously in March 2014, in a parked jeep close to a nightclub in Rabat, Gozo, together with another man and a young woman. As the police moved in to investigate, the two men resisted police officers and were arrested.

A search was carried out on Bonnici and 14 small sachets of powder, suspected to be cocaine, were found on his person. He claimed to have purchased these from a third party.

A court-appointed expert had later established that the powder was cocaine, of a purity of 18%.

Bonnici was then charged with aggravated possession of cocaine, supplying the drugs in an area less than 100m from a place frequented by youths and relapsing.

In a judgment handed down today, Magistrate Joe Mifsud, presiding over the Court of Magistrates in Gozo, cited the UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs as stating that the intent to traffic drugs may be inferred from “objective factual circumstances.”

Although the amount of drugs found – less than 6 grams - was small, the court noted that it had been divided into 14 sachets. The accused had not provided any evidence to support his claim that he was a drug user or that he had sought treatment for this addiction.

“The manner whereby he sought to justify this did not convince the court,” declared the Magistrate, concluding that the first charge had been sufficiently proved.

The court, however, cleared Bonnici of the second charge, noting that the prosecution had failed to prove the exact location of where the drugs were trafficked. The court appealed to prosecuting officers to request the appointment of a court expert to draw up a map, including measurements, of the crime scene in future for the avoidance of doubt.

With respect to the recidivism charge, the court noted that no copies of previous sentences had been filed and therefore dismissed it.

Finding him guilty of the first charge, the court jailed the man for 8 months and condemned him to pay a €1,000 fine and the costs of appointing experts.

Inspector Gabriel Micallef prosecuted.

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