FCU gives back cash in quashed drug case

| 28/08/2012

(CNS): The Financial Crimes Unit handed back several thousand dollars to a 28-year-old man from West Bay last week after a seizure order was revoked by the courts. Following a successful appeal in June against a drug dealing conviction, Eduardo Swaby-Gutierrez got his money back when the FCU was forced to apply to the Grand Court to have their own seizure order revoked. In October last year Swaby-Gutierrez was convicted in Summary Court of possessing 21 grams of cocaine with intent to supply and given a twelve year jail sentence. However, the conviction was overturned on appeal, as a result of missing evidence, and replaced with simple possession.

Defence Attorney Peter Polack, who had successfully argued the appeal this summer, said the seizure was based on his client being found guilty of intending to supply drugs.

“The original seizure order was entirely predicated on the conviction. When the conviction was quashed the Financial Crime Unit and Customs had no recourse but to facilitate return of the funds. To be fair, neither the Customs nor the unsuspecting Financial Crime Unit were aware their hard work would be for naught due to the missing evidence,” he added.

Swaby-Gutierrez was found guilty by former Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsey-Hale, who had relied on particles of evidence to convict him that she assumed to be cocaine. However, it was later revealed that they had never been analyized or confirmed to be a controlled drug or even handed to the court as evidence. 

As a result, Justice Alex Henderson overturned the drug dealing conviction and changed it to the lesser charge of possession. Swaby was then given a sentence of seven months, which amounted to the time he had served since being convicted and was therefore released.

Related article:

Missing evidence leads to quashed drug conviction

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Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This one keeps getting stranger and stranger

  2. Anonymous says:

    No excuse for this.

    The test for cocaine is a road-side exercise in the USA, the kit can even be bought mail order for $4.95. This is like GSR (gun shot residue) tests all over again. They are also a roadside check and I'm not talking about the simple swabs but the newer binary tests that are admissible in court. Thosekits only cost about $25 each.

    RCIPS can buy fancy Dodge Chargers to patrol the streets but will not invest in the basic detection tools that their officers need to put the bad guys away. Doesn't that tell you something?

     

  3. the truth says:

    The Truth is that the legal department and those entrusted with the responsibility of dealing out justice could care less if you are actually guilty or not. One has to ask yourself, " how can the DPP overlook the FACT, that this strange substance was not tested and just submit the person to trial, who ultimately received 12 YEARS!". Time and time again they have proven themselves to be incompitent at the highest levels which in my opinion is nothing short of deplorable to say the least! People's freedoms are at stake when scenarios like this arise and for them to simply be shuffling people off to trial in the HOPES that they get convicted leaves me spell bound. Its as if they have no concept of the law which they seek to enforce upon whom they see fit or is it that they have become mechanical in their ways and lack basic logical and reasonable thinking? Thankfully for this young man a stand up lawyer (Peter Polack) reviewed the case and managed to spot this detrimental error else wise he loose his entire youth behind bars.

    • Rick says:

      You are so right. The lady does not seem to be able to control her minions. They get away with the slopiest job in court and the people pay for it.

  4. NeoSurvivor says:

    WOW.   Two glaringly disturbing items here, if I am reading the story correctly:

     

    1.  21 grams of unknown substance resembling cocaine were not tested and then later were missing?   huh????   Where did it go?   Why was it not immediately sent for testing?  

     

    2.  21 grams seems to be a LOT of cocaine.    Not a drug user myself, however that seems to be a lot more than a person would keep for personal use.  

  5. Anonymous says:

    Awesome.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Another bang up job by the Legal Department again! SIGH …

    • Anonymous says:

      Please can we get used to separating the Criminal from the Civil. Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is responsible for criminal prosecutions, Office of the Solicitor General in the Attorney General’s Chambers is responsible for civil matters, there no longer is an all encompassing “Legal Department”. The 2009 Constitution made the DPP a post independent of the AG.