5 Jun 2019

Synthetic drugs court case: WeChat social media messages used as evidence

6:43 pm on 5 June 2019

The crown prosecutor at a trial alleging a four million dollar synthetic cannabis ring operating out of a Christchurch dairy says social media messages will play a major role in the case.

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File photo. Photo: RNZ / Luke McPake

Fei He, Sui Jun Zhou, Heng Fu and Xiwen Miao are facing a number of charges over the sale and production of psychoactive substances, commonly referred to as synthetic cannabis.

The opening address from the Crown prosecutor, Karyn South, continued today.

She told the court that messages exchanged between the group on social media platform We Chat would play a central role in the evidence.

Miss South said there was a lengthy history of We Chat messages which showed bulk purchases of the material to make illegal psychoactive substances.

Anselm Williams, the defence counsel for Sui Jun Zhou, said in his opening address that the jury needed to remember that the defendants were presumed innocent until the Crown proved otherwise.

He said the jury should not let their views on drugs, or the fact the defendants were using translators, colour their assessment of the evidence presented to them.

Mr Anselm said there was always more to things than met the eye.

The court case started yesterday, and is expected to take six weeks.