4 Jul 2014

Cocaine trial jury breaks for weekend

5:42 pm on 4 July 2014

A High Court jury will resume deliberations on Monday in the case of a man accused of organising a cocaine importation that cost his mother-in-law's life.

Peter Leaitua.

Peter Leaitua. Photo: FACEBOOK

Peter Phillip Leaitua has denied a charge of importing cocaine, a Class A drug estimated to have a street value of $200,000 in September 2011.

Justice Wylie has told the jury of nine women and three men at the High Court in Auckland on Friday that the Crown must prove three components in the case.

They must be sure that cocaine was imported into New Zealand, that Mr Leaitua knew of the importation and that he intended to bring it into the country.

The court has been told the drugs were smuggled into New Zealand inside the stomach of Mr Leaitua's mother-in-law Sorlinda Aristizabal Vega.

The day after arriving from Buenos Aires at least three of the 24 packages burst inside her and she died of an overdose.

Justice Wylie told jurors they needed to be careful about Mr Leaitua's previous conviction for cocaine running in France in 2003.

The jury began its deliberations on Friday.