10 Dec 2014

Judge sums up in cocaine import case

3:17 pm on 10 December 2014

A judge has told a jury to consider whether or not a man knowingly helped his mother-in-law be used as a drug mule to import cocaine.

Peter Leaitua.

Peter Leaitua. Photo: FACEBOOK

Peter Leaitua is on trial at the High Court in Auckland charged with importing $200,000 worth of the drug in his mother-in-law's stomach in September 2011.

Sorlinda Aristizabal Vega died hours after arriving in Auckland after several of the packets burst inside her.

The Crown says Mr Leaitua changed some of the evidence he gave in his first trial earlier this year to make his story more plausible.

It says the purpose of his meeting with members of a drug ring in a cafe Argentina was to discuss the final details of the deal the week before the flight to New Zealand

The defence says Mr Leaitua learnt his lesson when he went to prison for previously importing drugs into France and Ms Vega acted on her own.

In summing up, Justice Katz said the jury should consider the disputed video footage of the cafe meeting and the fact that those people were not cross-examined.