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Nov 06 - Cocaine Trial Starts At The Supreme Court

A Supreme Court trial has started for a 29-year-old man accused of the possession and possession with intent to supply of nearly 50g of cocaine.

This is the second time Manuel Hernandez, of Edinburgh House, has gone on trial facing one charge of possession and one count of possession with intent to supply the drugs. He maintains his innocence in relation to the two charges.

Reading out the Crown’s summary of the case this morning, Prosecutor Carl Ramagge said the case dates back to December 2014 when officers from the RGP’s drugs squad carried out a search warrant at a house in New Passage where Hernandez’s brother and his former partner lived.

When no one answered the door, officers entered the two-storey building via a shuttered window into a derelict room downstairs which was used for storage. They came across a white chest of drawers and in the third drawer they found some weighing scales and a pouch which contained several wrappers of cocaine weighing 49.3g.

Hernandez’s brother and former partner were arrested and taken to the police station for questioning, and DNA swabs were taken to see if they matched DNA found on the wrappers.

Their DNA results didn’t match but it was suggested that a sibling could be a match. Acting on this, a DNA swab was taken from Hernandez, and it gave a positive match.

The empanelled jury heard from the crime scene photographer and the officer in charge, Detective Constable Joseph Cassaglia from the drugs squad unit.

He explained how his team gained entry into the property after using bolt cutters to enter via a window that was closed shut with a plastic cable from the inside.

When asked why further investigations weren’t carried out by interviewing neighbours, he said his team were acting on very specific information given to the police and the evidence confirmed that.

The trial is presided over by Puisne Judge Christopher Butler and is expected to last until the end of the week.

Cecile Gomez appears for Hernandez.


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