25 Oct 2002

Fiji police release Marshalls diplomat in possession of illegal drugs

6:17 am on 25 October 2002

A Marshall Islands diplomat arrested in Fiji for being in possession of dangerous drugs has been freed for the second time because of police bungling.

Roque Andrew was arrested at Nadi International Airport while trying to board an Air Nauru plane for Tarawa after he was found carrying 20 rolls of marijuana in a cigarette packet.

Andrew appeared in the Nadi magistrate's court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty.

But the magistrate discharged him on a technicality because the laboratory report which confirmed the substance was marijuana was not signed by the analyst.

When police charged him a second time, the magistrate discharged him again.

His lawyer said Andrew's second arrest was without a reasonable cause.