Drug trafficking: Absence of interpreter stalls trial of Portuguese

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The absence of an interpreter on Monday again stalled the trial before a Federal High Court, Lagos of a Portuguese woman, Roseangela Goncalves, charged with drug trafficking.

Gonclaves, 36, is charged along with Christopher Olua, 38, on a two-count charge of dealing on a restricted narcotic, cocaine.

They had both pleaded not guilty to the charge but the Judge, Justice Saliu Saidu, had ordered the remand of Gonglaves at the Kirikiri Prisons, following an application for remand by the Prosecutor, Frank Dinneys.

The second accused was, however, granted bail in the sum of five million naira with two sureties in like sum.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that when the case was called on Monday the court could not proceed with the trial of the accused, as defence counsel informed the court that there was no interpreter for the accused.

This prompted the judge to again adjourn the suit to March 25 for trial, while he ordered the prosecution to make efforts to secure an interpreter from the Portuguese Embassy.

NAN recalls that the accused were arraigned in November 2013.

At the last adjourned date on Jan. 23, the court had also adjourned the suit, due to a lack of an interpreter.

Earlier, the prosecutor had told the court that the accused committed the offence on July 21, 2013.

He said the accused were apprehended by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the arrival hall of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, with about two kilogrammes of cocaine.

He told the court that the accused had conspired with one Ikechukwu, who is now at large, to import the narcotic.

According to the prosecutor, the offence contravenes the provisions of Sections 11 (a) and 14 (b) of the NDLEA Act, Cap N30 Laws of the Federation 2004.

NAN reports that the offence of drug trafficking attracts life imprisonment if convicted. (NAN)


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