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Drug trafficking charge vs Aussie dismissed

  • Written by AFP
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 172

A JUDGE  dismissed a narcotics trafficking charge against an Australian man after ruling police made up evidence, court documents show. 

A Canadian man who was arrested in the same police operation was jailed by a different judge for life, with authorities hailing his prosecution as a sign that the campaign is achieving swift results.
The Australian, Damian Berg, was charged with drug trafficking after police alleged he was caught alongside Canadian Jeremy Eaton trying to sell Ecstasy tablets on a Manila street in June.
Berg insisted police had dragged him out of his hotel room, then brought him to the street where the tablets were placed on him and he was paraded before waiting journalists.
Berg’s lawyer presented to the court CCTV footage from the hotel that backed up his claims, and the judge hearing the case in the financial district of Makati ruled the police had indeed lied about how they arrested him.
“The CCTV footage belied the claim of the prosecution witnesses and destroyed the integrity of their testimonies,” the judge ruled last month.
AFP obtained a copy of the verdict from the court this week.
Eaton, who has insisted on his innocence, was sentenced to life by another judge at the Makati Trial Court using the evidence of the same police.
When the verdict against Eaton was announced last week, the chief lawyer of the national police’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Group, Enrico Rigor, said the swift prosecution showed the determination of authorities to resolve cases quickly as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s crime war.
When asked by AFP on Thursday about the two cases, Rigor did not deny the judge’s assertion that police had made up evidence.