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N$5 million heroin accused to get new trial dates

2019-10-31  Maria Amakali

N$5 million heroin accused to get new trial dates
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WINDHOEK - A Former Air Namibia cabin crew member currently being tried for attempting to smuggle N$5 million worth of heroin is set to get new trial dates after his trial came to a standstill in Windhoek regional court.

Percival Mensah, 37, made a brief appearance before magistrate Ileni Velikoshi after the court refused to discharge him. The court postponed the case for new trial dates to November 18.
Mensah is charged with a count of dealing in or possessing 10, 27 kilogrammes of heroin valued at N$5 million, and a charge of acquiring, possessing or using the proceeds of unlawful activities related to the incident.

His trial came to a halt when he brought an application through his defence lawyer Jan Wessels to be discharged. In defence, the accused says the State did not prove the chain of custody that the substance that was confiscated from the accused was not the same substance that was tested at the National Forensic Lab.
However, his application was dismissed, with the court citing that the State has proven beyond reasonable doubt that there is a strong prima facie case against Mensah on which he must answer.

During the trial, Mensah through his defence lawyer Wessels denied any wrongdoing. Wessels said that they are not disputing that Mensah was at Hosea Kutako International Airport on the day, because he was part of the cabin crew employed by Air Namibia, but they deny he had any dealing in heroin. 

Mensah allegedly received the alleged drugs found in the suitcase with which he was to travel from Namibia to Frankfurt from an old friend by the name Chandre Hill. Mensah further denies that the drugs were his property, and that he knew what was in the bag when he received it from his friend Hill.

Hill, 26, was initially charged alongside Mensah, but the prosecution withdrew the charges against him in September last year due to lack of evidence. In his arguments, Wessels called on the court to acquit Mensah as he was not the owner of the drugs. 

According to Detective Sergeant Lukas Lukas from the Namibian police drug unit, on 17 December 2016, the police together with Mensah went through the contents of his bag. “Upon inspection, we found male clothes and underneath the pile of clothes was an extra bag,” explained Lukas.

Lukas informed the court that inside the extra bag they found 10 parcels with substances suspected to be heroin.

Mensah allegedly vanished from the airport after police officers started to make enquiries about the ownership of the luggage in which the suspected drugs had been detected, and did not depart on the flight to Germany as scheduled. 

This happened before the search as he had returned and handed himself over.

2019-10-31  Maria Amakali

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