Chinese trafficking victim spotted|
dining on red wine and crab
The unusual revelation made by prosecuting counsel to the High Court last week was another unexpected twist to the as-of-yet unnamed man's strange odyssey in Ireland, according to the Irish Independent.
The 36 year old was appearing in court on drug related charges after police raided a Dublin property where cannabis was being grown in volumes sufficient for supply.
The man's unusual line of defense to the charges began when he then told authorities that he was forcibly locked in the raided property as a victim of human trafficking and was completely unaware that the plants he had been supposed forced to water were, in fact, drugs.
He claimed that 'snakeheads' -- Chinese gangs often operating human trafficking cells in Europe -- had smuggled him into the country to force him to tend towards the growing of the cannabis stash at the bust Henrietta Street grow-house.
The man claims he became involved with the criminal operation after his father had taken out a loan a year prior which he became unable to pay back in time.
After physical and death threats to his family ensued the man became tempted to earn and remit abroad - he claims most of his earnings have been sent back to China to provide for his family and help discharge the debt.
Initial transport was arranged by the gang from Hong Kong to Ireland where after a brief period working in Chinese restaurants around the country the man became involved in organized drugs crime.
His lawyers have claimed that the State is failing to provide its basic legal safeguards towards the alleged trafficking victim by prosecuting him for an offence carried out under duress of the gang -- a provision they claim is guaranteed at European legislative level.
However, Kieran Kelly SC, prosecuting the case for the State, admitted photographic evidence of the accused enjoying gourmet meals at hotel functions in Galway and Dublin, suggesting that the man's liberty of movement may not have been as curtailed as he claimed.
The evidence was found on the accused's iPhone photo bank which was seized by police during the raid.
The case has been adjourned until Wednesday.