'Drug mule' demands release

HARARE - A former British soldier who was busted with an assortment of machinery used to make cocaine capsules and other dangerous drugs is demanding his immediate release, arguing the State unlawfully dragged him before the courts.

James Francis Joscelyne, who was raided at his upmarket Glen Lorne residence, was represented by advocate Sylvester Hashiti when he appeared before Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya for commencement of his trial on charges of dealing in dangerous drugs.

The 39-year-old was a British Army soldier attached to the Queen’s regiment before he retired and moved to Zimbabwe in 2002.

During an application for exception to the charge, Hashiti said the State had unlawfully interfered with Joscelyne’s privacy during searches that were conducted leading to his arrest.

He said when police acquired a search warrant the charges were for possession of drugs only for his client to be brought to court on different allegations of dealing in drugs.

“…evidence obtained inconsistent with the law must be excluded in a trial and if we exclude that evidence there will be no charge, they are automatically quashed and indictment set aside,” Hashiti said.

“The manner in which this case was handled is contrary to the law and this court cannot associate itself to an illegality. The court ought to order the accused person’s release under such circumstances.”

However, prosecutor George Manokore argued that Hashiti had raised issues that ought to be contested during trial.

“The application made by the accused person is only meant to delay due administration of justice. What they are saying about the dates and charges that appeared on the warrant is neither here nor there,”Manokore argued.

“The defence should understand that when police perform a search the charges they indicate will be based on supplied information, but, however, this may change in accordance with their findings.”

According to court papers Joscelyne has since renounced his Zimbabwean citizenship and allegedly admitted during an interview that he was processing tablets containing ecstasy powder and cocaine selling a capsule for $3 through an organised syndicate in Harare.

It was alleged that on July 20 detectives from CID Drugs and Narcotics were tipped that Joscelyne was dealing dangerous drugs at his home.

It was also alleged that detectives proceeded to the residence and introduced themselves before presenting a search warrant to Joscelyne.

During the search, detectives went into Joscelyne’s bedroom where they recovered two sachets of a susbstance suspected to be cocaine with a street value of $640 and 43 ecstasy tablets valued at $129.

The detectives further probed Joscelyne and he led them to his kitchen where a bowl containing ecstasy powder and empty plastic packaging were recovered.

It was further alleged that two drug processing machines; a single-punch pill maker and dagga compressing machine, 25 kg of Micro crystalline cellulose used in pharmaceutical tablet making, 300 empty capsules and food colourants were also found in the house.

The recovered drugs were taken for forensic examinations and the results are yet to be obtained.

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