14 May 2015

Trial ends for drug-smuggling accused in China

6:46 am on 14 May 2015

The trial of a New Zealander in China on drug-smuggling charges - which could result in a death sentence - has concluded.

Peter Gardner

Peter Gardner Photo: SUPPLIED

Peter Gardner, who lives in Australia, was arrested at Guangzhou International Airport last November when he was found to be carrying nearly 30 kilograms of methamphetamine.

It was the biggest haul of the drug the airport had ever seized.

Mr Gardner maintains he was duped into thinking he was smuggling athletic performance-enhancing drugs by an intermediary who heads a large Australian gang.

The 26-year-old had earlier told the court he had made the biggest mistake of his life.

Mr Gardner's lawyer, Craig Tuck, said the trial concluded after five hours. He said the three presiding judges were expected to take about a month to render a verdict.

Mr Tuck said the Chinese authorities had treated Mr Gardner well while in custody.

"His mum and dad have met with him," he said. "Most people in China are detained without visitors except consular support or lawyers, but on this occasion there has been a visit with his parents, which is very unusual, and they were grateful for that."

Mr Tuck said the New Zealand government had provided Mr Gardner with monthly consular assistance.

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