Two cleared of heroin trafficking as court orders investigation of principal witness for perjury

The court ruled that the star witness in the case had not followed his oath to tell the truth from the witness stand

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A court of Magistrates has cleared a man and woman of heroin trafficking, after a court ruled that the principal witness had lied under oath.

Magistrate Neville Camilleri ordered the police to investigate star witness Eusebio Busuttil for perjury as a result of his inconsistent testimony against Ivan Bajada, 44, from Sliema and Clare Borg, 40 from Gzira, who were charged with dealing the drug.

The court ruled that Busuttil’s testimony indicated that he had not followed his oath to tell the truth from the witness stand and had rendered himself liable to perjury proceedings, ordering the Commissioner of Police to investigate the man with a view to prosecuting him.

Bajada and Borg were declared not guilty of trafficking and possession of heroin in October 2007 after the court said it had doubts that Busuttil’s version of events had actually taken place.

The case dates back to September 2007 when the police had received information that the accused were due to return to Malta from Turkey carrying drugs. Bajada and Borg were stopped at the airport but a search turned up nothing.

The police had continued to observe the pair, however and had raided Busuttil’s residence, arresting Bajada, Borg, together with Busuttil and another man, Alan Brown.

Drugs were found during the police’s search of the premises.

A policeman involved in the search testified that Busuttil had claimed that the drugs belonged to Bajada, whom he had met to buy drugs.

Another officer explained that electronic weighing scales and drug paraphernalia were found on the premises.

Busuttil had testified that he and Brown had gone to buy drugs from the accused in Paceville and that they all had gone to his home to divide the drugs into individual doses because the accused didn’t have any sachets handy.

The accused had opened a sealed brown envelope and started dividing the drugs into sachets, he said, before weighing them on the scales which Bajada had allegedly brought with him. Borg had received a phone call and had briefly left the house, taking a sachet with her, before returning without it, he said.

The court ruled that the statements of the two accused were inadmissible due to the fact that they had been taken without a lawyer being present.

It observed that the prosecution had relied on the testimony of Eusebio Busuttil, who had categorically stated that the drugs in his house did not belong to him, but noted that Alan Brown had testified differently.

Brown had said he had met the accused to tow his vehicle after his key broke in the ignition. Busuttil had told him that he needed to speak to the two accused and asked Brown to show him where he could find them.

When Brown and the other three went to Busuttil’s house in Hamrun to get a rope to tow the car with, Busuttil had told him to wait in a room alone whilst he spoke to Bajada.

Magistrate Neville Camilleri in a meticulous 43-page judgment, wrote: “The court asks: taking into account what has been said and what emerges from the acts, can the court reach the conclusion that what was said by Busuttil about the accused was true? The court also asks…can it believe all Busuttil said, when from the rest of the acts of the case nothing emerges? The answer is: No!”

Lawyers Michael Sciriha u Lucio Sciriha appeared for the accused.