Judge throws out drug charges, saying police erred in investigation
A judge threw out a drug case against two defendants, saying that errors in a police investigation led to a series of problems.
Acting Puisne Judge Mark Pettingill said that several actions during the investigation made it difficult to determine whether or not Tyrone Burchall, 50, and Angela Simmons, 60, had any responsibility in the matter.
He added that, because of the fundamental errors in building the case, he was forced to rule that the defendants had no case to answer.
Mr Justice Pettingill stressed that “police have a difficult job and it would be easy to say in hindsight that it could have been done better”.
Mr Burchall, from Southampton, and Ms Simmons, from Devonshire, pleaded not guilty to conspiring to import diamorphine, commonly known as heroin, between an unknown date and October 3, 2019.
The trial, which started September 8 and ended last week, saw police officers tell the court that UK Customs intercepted a DHL package from South Africa inbound to Bermuda in 2019.
The package contained cosmetics, including 53 tubes of mascara, which were later found to contain an off-white powder which was later found 250 grammes of heroin, with an estimated street value of $162,000.
The court heard that the package was addressed to a home in Devonshire and had a phone number that was later alleged to have belonged to Mr Burchall listed on the parcel.
Bermuda Police were alerted to the package and allowed it to be delivered while they traced its course.
Marc Daniels, for Ms Simmons, said there was “absolutely no evidence” that showed his client had any intention to import drugs, nor was there any evidence to show that she had contacts in South Africa or had contacted DHL.
Charles Richardson, for Mr Burchall, also argued that there was “no evidence whatsoever” to tie his client to the drugs, adding that being present when the package was collected did not mean he was privy to its contents.
A police spokesman told The Royal Gazette: “The decision on whether a prosecution proceeds is a matter for the courts.
“The courts consider the totality of the circumstances in making their decisions. The BPS respects the decisions handed down by the Judiciary.”
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