Court says turn­ing co­caine into crack is not traf­fick­ing

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

A drug ad­dict has been ac­quit­ted of drugs charges after a court ruled that turn­ing co­caine into crack does not re­sult in traf­fick­ing.

De­nis Cre­mona, 36, from Flo­ri­ana, was ac­cused of traf­fick­ing in co­caine and re­laps­ing.

Mag­is­trate Natasha Galea Sciber­ras heard how of­fi­cers from the drugs squad had raided Mr Cre­mona’s res­i­dence in May 2012. There they found the ac­cused and a cer­tain Ja­son Bugeja, who was car­ry­ing a sa­chet filled with white pow­der.

Of­fi­cers also found drug-re­lated items in the house, in­clud­ing a set of elec­tronic scales, bi­car­bon­ate of soda, a pipe, plas­tic bags, a penknife, a tea­spoon, a box of ra­zors and two knives – one was burnt and the other was miss­ing the han­dle.

Court expert God­win Sam­mut said there were no traces of drugs on the knives, the penknife and the tea­spoon. Traces of co­caine were found on the pipes and the scales.

The ac­cused, who had re­fused to be as­sisted by a lawyer dur­ing the in­ter­ro­ga­tion, told the po­lice that he used the glass pipes to burn stuff, the scales and the bags for things he bought.

He al­leged that Ja­son Bugeja had gone to his house to smoke crack with him but de­nied sell­ing the drugs. The ac­cused said he has been a co­caine and heroin ad­dict for the past 10 years.

He de­nied turn­ing the co­caine into crack and said Bugeja had pro­cured the al­ready al­tered drug and the two had smoked it to­gether.

On the other hand, Mr Bugeja said he had vis­ited the ac­cused be­cause he did not know how to cook co­caine into crack. He ad­mit­ted that the drugs be­longed to him, and not to the ac­cused.

In­spec­tor Niko­lai Sant, prose­cut­ing, said cook­ing crack amounted to man­u­fac­ture which, in the eyes of the law amounted to traf­fick­ing.

But the court noted that the only sub­stance pre­sented as ev­i­dence dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings was the bi­car­bon­ate of soda. The white sub­stance found in Mr Bugeja’s pos­ses­sion had never been ex­hib­ited and the court could not ascer­tain that it was co­caine or crack. There was no doubt that Bugeja had pro­cured the drug but it could not be proven that Cre­mona had turned it into crack, the court said. Since the drugs were pro­cured by Bugeja one could not say that this was a case of traf­fick­ing.

The ob­jects found in the house in­di­cated that they were re­lated to drugs but the pros­e­cu­tion did not prove that the ac­cused dealt in co­caine.

The mag­is­trate said that while the ac­cused had turned the co­caine into crack, this did not con­sti­tute man­u­fac­ture or pro­duc­tion. The drug was only changed in form so that it could be con­sumed in a dif­fer­ent method.

For these rea­sons the court ruled that the traf­fick­ing charge did not re­sult. Since the first charge was not con­firmed the ac­cused could not be found guilty of re­laps­ing.

Mr Cre­mona was ac­quit­ted of all charges.

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