By Judith Sibanda
The trial of a Victoria Falls safari camp manager who was allegedly found with a huge stash of illegal drugs and equipment believed to be used in the manufacturing of the drugs is expected to kick off next month.
Victoria Falls resident magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa ordered Cornelious Smit (62) of Mabalengwe Safaris to return to court on December 15 for trial.
Smit has not been asked to plead to charges of Contravening Section 5 of the Harmful Liquids Act Chapter 9:10 “Manufacturing of Harmful Liquids and unlawful possession of cannabis oil and dagga.
Smit’s trial has been failing to start after the police’s Criminal Investigations Department has been failing to produce the results of the alleged substances that were taken to their laboratories in Harare for testing.
In court, his lawyer Njabulo Ndlovu of Matshobana and Ncube Attorneys argued that their client should be set on free remand as his trial has taken over seven weeks to begin.
The prosecutors, however, declined Smit’s legal counsel submissions revealing that the results will be availed in his next court appearance.
Prosecutors say that on October 7 at around 12 pm, police received a tip-off that Smit was in possession of dangerous drugs at his residence.
Acting on the tipoff, a warrant of search and seizure was obtained from the Victoria Falls magistrate court and on the same day, the Victoria Falls district team comprising of Criminal Investigations Department and Narcotics, Support Unit and Canine led by Assistant Inspector Tavengwa visited Smit’s house.
The team conducted a search and recovered a 25 litre container with two litres of ethanol for processing cannabis, one axe with wooden handle, two by 20 litres distilling containers for harmful liquids, one condenser steel spirits serial number 65821, 20 litre electrical cane, two by five millilitres (processed cannabis oil, 610 mls cannabis oil, 100 mls imonnelo oil for processing cannabis, 10 litre harmful liquid, two plastic tubes and raw dagga weighing 6.7 kilogrammes.
Police records also showed that Smit was also found in possession of 18 litres of illicit beer called Kachasu leading to his arrest.
Smit is on ZW$50 000 bail and his conditions include reporting twice a week on Monday and Friday at Victoria Falls police station between 6 am and 6 pm.
He was also ordered to surrender his passport, not to interfere with state witnesses and to reside at his given home address.