Not guilty verdicts in dark web drugs trial
A jury has accepted a Christchurch man's claim that someone else must have used his computer to order drugs from the 'dark web'.
Kyle Nathan Smith, 45, was found not guilty of five charges of importing heroin, methamphetamine, and MDMA – usually known as ecstasy – but guilty on one charge of possessing methamphetamine.
He had already pleaded guilty to charges of possession and cultivation of cannabis, at the start of the three-day Christchurch District Court trial before Judge Brian Callaghan and a jury.
Judge Callaghan told the jury members after the verdicts: "I don't often say this to juries, but I think your not guilty verdicts probably match the evidence."
He remanded Smith on bail for sentencing on December 16.
Customs had intercepted five packages from overseas which were being sent to Smith's address, but not in his name. They were not delivered.
Crown prosecutor Donald Matthews said when officials found a small quantity of methamphetamine in Smith's bedroom, and an envelope from overseas, to a different name but in the same type of envelope as the intercepted packages.
They found software to access the dark web installed on a computer in his bedroom, and found someone had used it to order drugs.
The only issue was whether Smith was responsible, Matthews said.
Defence counsel Andrew McKenzie said the Crown was asking the jury to make guesses because there had been "chronic under-investigation" of the case. It was not clear who had been living at the address at the time.
"This is a court of law, not a court of suspicion."
He told the jury that in order to convict Smith they had to be sure he had imported the packages, and sure he was aware of the meth found in his room.
"Suspicion doesn't equal proof," he said.