Anaesthetic import case to be moved

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A case involving a 44-year-old Lincolnshire man charged with importing the local anaesthetic Benzocaine, which police suspect was being used in the supply of Class A drugs, may be moved to Belfast this week.

Derry Magistrate’s Court was told the case against Kashor Pungi (44) of Peppin Lane, Fotherby, in Lincolnshire, was being heard in Derry due to a lock-up involved in the alleged operation being located here.

But a Public Prosecution Service (PPS) solicitor said that the case was part of a much larger file, which involved multiple defendants, who were accused of drug importation.

The PPS solicitor said the reason it was listed in Derry was due to a lock-up in the city. She said it would be better to deal with the charges against Mr Pungi alongside those of his co-accused in Belfast.

A defence solicitor for Mr Pungi, who was not in attendance, told the court his codefendants had been arrested six months prior to her client. She also stressed that the charges against Mr Pungi did not relate to the importation of illegal drugs but rather to the importation of Benzocaine.

The charge sheets showed that Mr Pungi is charged with supplying Benzocaine, which is capable of encouraging or assisting in the importation of Class A drugs between July 30, 2015 and February 29, 2016, in Derry.

District Judge Barney McElholm asked for details of the cases against Mr Pungi’s codefendants but was told by both the prosecution and defence that they didn’t have these details to hand.

He adjourned the case until November 10 to allow time for the details to be located in order to allow the case to be transferred from Derry Magistrate’s Court to Belfast.