Fingerprints on a drug-filled bag seized by the police seven years ago did not match those of a man accused of conspiring to traffick drugs, a court has heard.
Toni Curmi, 39, had been arrested after a two-kilo cannabis haul by the Drug Squad following a tip-off about suspected drug trafficking at his Tarxien garage.
He was arraigned in November 2014 alongside his alleged co-conspirator, Wayne Grima, who was seen leaving the premises on Triq Kelinu Cachia carrying a white paper bag, later seized by police from the passenger seat of his Peugeot 206.
That bag was later found to contain 1,912 grams of cannabis resin.
Fingerprints experts Jeffrey Hughes and Joseph Mallia told the court that eight finger and palm prints were lifted from the paper bag and transparent tape-strapped plastic bags containing the drugs.
None of the prints matched those of Toni Curmi.
Asked by defence lawyer Mark Vassallo whether the prints had been compared to those of the other suspect arrested in the drug raid, Mallia replied he had received no instructions in that regard.
“Had I been told, I would have done so.”
Street value of €45,888
Scientific expert Godwin Sammut, tasked with analysing the ‘brown blocks’ found in the bag seized from Grima’s car, testified that the drug was cannabis resin, weighing 1,912 grams, with a 7% purity and a street value of €45,888.
A set of weighing scales and a spoon had both tested positive to cocaine.
Answering questions from the jurors, Sammut explained that the purity of the drug fell well within the normal range in Malta at the time, which varied between 5% and 18%.
As for the value, Sammut said that for forensic purposes the varying purity of the drug was not taken into account when calculating its street value.
Asked by the defence whether the drug had been compared or matched to that found at the home of the other suspect, Sammut replied in the negative.
Earlier in the sitting, former prosecuting inspector Herman Mula confirmed that two “very small pieces of cannabis resin clearly denoting personal use” had been discovered at the home of Wayne Grima.
Criminal proceedings against that second suspect, arrested on that November 22 raid at Tarxien, are still ongoing.
During Wednesday’s afternoon sitting, mobile telephony experts testified about their findings on three phones seized in the drug raid.
Two of the devices belonged to Curmi and the other belonged to Grima.
None of them were smartphones, explained expert Martin Bajada who extracted data and drew up a call profile analysis based upon information linked to a time window between October 21 and November 22, 2014, namely one month preceding the arrests.
Both Bajada and the second court expert, Jonathan Mizzi, confirmed that the phone registered in Grima’s name had 152 saved contacts, among which were “iż-Żibga,” “it-Topo,” “Melvin Gram,” “Melvin Ħaxixa.”
Defence lawyer Mark Vassallo questioned Mula about those names featuring in Grima’s phone directory.
“Do those names mean anything to you?”
Some of those names did “ring a bell,” said the former inspector from the Drug Squad, explaining that the persons were closely linked to criminal circles well-known to the police.
At the end of the sitting, the prosecution declared that it had no further witnesses to produce.
Before Wednesday’s afternoon session, Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera, conducted an onsite inquiry at the accused’s garage at Tarxien, enabling jurors to familiarize themselves with the scene of the crime.
Lawyers Edward Gatt, Mark Vassallo and Ishmael Psaila are defence counsel.
Lawyers Anthony Vella and Gabriel Shaun Azzopardi from the AG’s office are prosecuting.
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