Man's drug trafficking trial starts - 11 years after police raid

Man's drug trafficking trial starts - 11 years after police raid

A procedural error caused a four-year delay

The trial of a man facing drug trafficking charges started on Tuesday, 11 years after a police raid led to his initial arrest.

The alleged drug-pusher, 34-year old Herman McKay from Marsa, stands accused of trafficking about half a kilogram of heroin in his home town.

Four years ago, a procedural error had resulted in the annulment of the bill of indictment and proceedings had to start afresh. 

The jurors heard on Tuesday how on August 17, 2007, the police had been tipped off about Mr McKay’s alleged involvement in drug trafficking activity in Triq is-Serkin, Marsa.

Officers who converged on the site at around 6pm had spotted the accused in the company of a group of youngsters.

Upon catching sight of the policemen, the gathering dispersed, only to be rounded up for questioning by the police. Among those stopped by the officers was Mr McKay.

In one deft movement, Mr McKay had opened the door of his Mercedes and flung himself onto the seat, re-emerging with a brown package which had been stuffed inside a compartment under a central armrest inside the vehicle.

The man quickly sprinkled its contents over the rough, dusty surface of the road.

The police managed just in time to stop him from similarly disposing of a second packet of brown powder.

Forensic tests later confirmed that the powder was heroin of 23.1% purity, and having a street value of €24,755. A court had ruled that the drug had not been for his personal use.

The police had further discovered some Lm816 in the suspect’s possession, (€1900) together with three mobile phones.

Mr McKay stands accused of the illegal possession of the drug under circumstances which indicate that it was not intended for his own personal use.

Mr Justice Antonio Mizzi is presiding over the trial.

Lawyers Elaine Mercieca and Justine Cilia from the Attorney General’s Office are prosecuting.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri are defence counsel.