28 Feb 2007

Suspects in record Vanuatu marijuana haul ordered to defend themselves

9:54 am on 28 February 2007

Twenty-five suspects in Vanuatu's biggest marijuana siezure have been ordered by the Chief Justice to defend themselves after their lawyer withdrew from their case.

The Daily Post reports the suspects lawyer as saying he could not defend the accused after they pleaded not guilty and refused to recognise the court.

The accused have been told by Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek that he will judge them individually and that they would in turn have to defend themselves individually.

The suspects say they do not recognise the law and want it amended to allow marijuana to be cultivated and used in the country as they say is their custom.

The chief justice has ordered the public prosecutor to produce all 41 bags consisting of over 1 tonne of marijuana as evidence to the courts.