Another reason the country is screwed.
Case against alleged ice trafficker Pok Wai Yau collapses after judge rules evidence was bungled
Andrew Dowdell, The Advertiser
an hour ago
‘Meth is everywhere in Adelaide’
Meth overtakes heroin in South Australia
Sewage analysis reveals ice scourge at record high
Ecstasy, ice becoming the drug of choice in SA
THE prosecution of a man charged with importing 1kg of near-pure methamphetamine has collapsed after a judge ruled out vital evidence from Hong Kong customs officials.
Pok Wai Yau was charged with attempting to import a commercial quantity of methamphetamine in June 2014, after a package was intercepted in Hong Kong bound for an address in Kent Town.
When Yau picked up the package about a week later, the amphetamines had been replaced with another substance by Australian Federal Police and he was arrested soon after.
Yau was to have faced trial in the District Court last year, however his lawyers lodged a challenge against the evidence of six Hong Kong customs officers who handled the package and analysed the contents.
The court heard the package contained almost 1kg of ice with a purity of 99 per cent, which has a potential street value of about $500,000.
Judge Michael Boylan, who was to have presided over the trial, was asked by Yau’s legal team to exclude the evidence of the customs officers because of inconsistencies in their statements, which had been translated from Cantonese to English.
Yau relied on four inconsistencies in the evidence of the officers, which his lawyers claimed had broken the traditional chain of evidence and left doubts as to whether the crystal substance was actually methamphetamine.
They argued no details of the method of testing were given and that statements did not reveal whether the weight of the substance included the bag it was held in.
The court also heard there were inconsistencies between times given for when the parcel was handled by various customs officers and there was no explanation for what happened to the parcel during a six-hour period.
In making his ruling on whether to admit the Hong Kong evidence, Judge Boylan noted that if it were to be excluded, the case against Yau would likely collapse.
“Without clarification from the relevant witnesses in Hong Kong, those inconsistencies raise doubts about whether or not the substance examined ... was the substance found in the package,” Judge Boylan found.
“There is no opportunity to know what is the likelihood of some interference with, or innocent mistaken dealing with, the white substance.”
Judge Boylan said the prosecution case, as it stood, could not prove beyond reasonable doubt the substance was ice, noting the Director of Public Prosecutions had not endeavoured to clarify the inconsistencies before the case reached trial.
“It seems to me that it would not have been too difficult a task for the prosecution to seek clarification of the apparent inconsistencies in the statement,” he found.
Judge Boylan directed the jury to acquit Yau because of the ruling, and the Full Court of the Supreme Court last week backed his decision.
Justice Malcolm Blue found that the prosecution’s failure to put evidence rebutting the doubts raised by Yau meant the ruling could not be overturned, while Justices Sam Doyle and Greg Parker agreed.