A South African woman who was convicted and fined P5 000 for importing drugs worth about half a million has requested the village magistrate court to order for the drugs which formed part of the prosecution case as exhibits to be taken from the police custody and be returned to her.
Tamara Azevedo is said to have in March this year at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport be found to have unlawfully imported a whitish powder suspected to be Ephedrine, a prescription drug commonly used as a stimulant, appetite suppressant, concentration aid, decongestant, and to treat hypotension associated with anesthesia.
Azevedo was arrested on her arrival from India apparently en- route to South Africa through Kenya Airways.
After her arrest and appearance in court she pleaded guilty to the charge and asked the court to be lenient on her when delivering the judgement.
This week Azevedo through her lawyer, Friday Leburu called on the court to return the drug since his client was not charged with possession.
Leburu argues that Ephedrine is neither a habit forming drug or a banned substance and being in possession of it therefore does not constitute an offense.
Leburu told the court that Ephedrine is classified under Schedule two drugs and: “There is an order by the minister which exempt schedule Two drugs from being classified as habit forming drugs.
Ephedrine is not a habit forming drug therefore its forfeiture is not applicable.
My client was also not charged with possession but she was charged with importation, so possession is not an issue which is why we request the court to order for the drug to be given back to my client.
There is nothing that prohibits possession of this drug and my client is entitled to it”, Leburu argued.
The prosecution in the case lead by Deputy Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mantswe is struggling to convince the court to forfeit the 20Kg drugs worth around P500, 000.
For three occasions the prosecution failed to answer questions among others as to whether in accordance with the law Ephedrine is a habit forming drug, its possession is an offence and whether the magistrate court can use its discretion to order for the forfeiture of the drug.
On several appearances last month the prosecution failed to answer these questions. Mantswe requested for more time to do further research on the questions they (DPP) are requested to answer.
Village Senior Magistrate Goodwill Makofi presiding over the case gave the prosecution another chance by postponing the matter to next week Monday to allow the prosecution time to research.
Azevedo escaped a two year jail term after she was convicted of smuggling whitish powder suspected to be Ephedrine drugs into the country without the Director’s approval.
The accused was slapped with a fine of P5, 000 or 12 months in prison if she failed to pay the fine.