Jordan Azzopardi’s defence says suspected drug trafficker must get bail

Drug trafficker Jordan Azzopardi’s rights ‘are the same as other accused persons’ rights’, lawyer says

Azzopardi is currently facing no less than 15 charges, including the trafficking of heroin, cocaine and cannabis, from various localities in Malta
Azzopardi is currently facing no less than 15 charges, including the trafficking of heroin, cocaine and cannabis, from various localities in Malta

The rights of Jordan Azzopardi are no different to those of other persons arraigned before the court, the suspected drug trafficker’s lawyer argued as he once again made submissions on bail.
With all civilian witnesses now heard in the case against Azzopardi, defence lawyer Franco Debono argued that the “principal hurdle” to bail had been overcome.

“There are other cases where people were caught with 80, 100, 300, 500 kilogrammes of drugs, who were given bail,” the lawyer told Magistrate Doreen Clarke.

The prosecution had spared no effort to bring all witnesses within a reasonable time and the court had heard them speedily. “The case has now matured,” said Debono. “I can spend from now, 1pm, till 6pm quoting jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights and the local courts on bail after civilian witnesses have been heard.”

In order to outweigh the presumption of innocence, evidence must be brought, he said.

The possibility of tampering with evidence must be convincingly demonstrated, Debono argued, reminding the court that “the ‘possible’ has no standing at law.”

Jordan Azzopardi and his 31-year old girlfriend, whose name was banned from publication under court order, returned to the dock this afternoon as the compilation of evidence against them continued.

Azzopardi has been in police custody since his arrest in March. The woman has been out on bail since August 2.

She is currently pleading not guilty to criminal conspiracy, fraudulently circulating fake banknotes and defrauding three stores in San Gwann and Sliema, along with her boyfriend who is also charged with drug trafficking.

The court, presided over by magistrate Doreen Clarke, declared that it would decide upon the bail request in chambers.

Inspector Mark Anthony Mercieca prosecuted, assisted by lawyer Ann Marie Cutajar from the Office of the Attorney General.

Lawyer Amadeus Cachia assisted the defence.

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