A DEC assistant investigations officer has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that the man accused of having a cannabis-growing lab was not given a chance to search officers to make sure they did not plant the drugs to frame him.
This is in a matter in which Kabir Magan, a South African of Indian origin, is facing four counts of drug related charges.
When the matter came up before Lusaka principal resident magistrate David Simusamba on Tuesday, Francis Phiri from DEC testified that Magan had told him that he had cultivated some plants for research which he didn’t want any of his workers to know about.
“When we asked if he had something illegal within his yard, he responded that he had some cannabis which were planted for research,” said Phiri.
He also said the public analyst confirmed through tests that what he seized in Magan’s room was a marijuana product, sativa, weighing 16.4 grams.
He said the plants that were kept in a dark air conditioned room were weighing 1.1 Kg.
But in cross-examination, Phiri was taken to task by Magan’s lawyer who asked him whether he allowed the accused to search him and other officers who raided the residence.
In response, Phiri replied in the negative, saying Magan did not search any of the officers who went at his residence.
The witness claimed the accused refused to alert his lawyer about what was happening at his house.
This was after he was asked whether he explained to the accused that he had rights to search officers in order to eliminate any possibility of framing.
Phiri further told the court that he did not have documentary evidence to prove that the accused was fairly treated without cohesion during the search.
And when the defense lawyer put it to him that anyone one else could have had access to the premises as it was not secured, Phiri admitted that even some journalists had access.
But Phiri testified that that the members of press only had access to the scene after 23 fresh cannabis, which were planted in black polythene bags, were seized.
Phiri, who is also an arresting officer, admitted that the seized plants were not put in an evidence bag and were not sealed to eliminate the danger of framing the accused.