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Woman in drugs trafficking-related case admits guilt

In a dramatic development, a middle-aged Auckland woman facing a serious drugs trafficking-related charge abandoned her not guilty plea this week and will plead guilty.Armed police guarded a co-offender when the woman, who has a corporate profile, last ap

Jock Anderson
Thu, 04 Mar 2010

In a dramatic development, a middle-aged Auckland woman facing a serious drugs trafficking-related charge abandoned her not guilty plea this week and will plead guilty.

Armed police guarded a co-offender when the woman, who has a corporate profile, last appeared in court.

As NBR 24/7 has previously reported, the woman, whose name and occupation – and the charge she faces – remain suppressed, was to have gone before a jury trial in the Auckland district court on Monday.

She may be sentenced on Monday.

A co-accused - a well-known middle-aged professional man whose relationship with the woman was also suppressed - walked free from court on February 24 after the charge against him was withdrawn by Christchurch judge Colin Doherty.

At the same hearing, another co-accused, Nicholas Henry Voerman (57), a major Ecstasy dealer who pleaded guilty to the suppressed charge, was sentenced to 12 months jail.

Voerman is to serve the 12 months at the same time as a three year jail term imposed on him by the High Court last September after he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking.

A major push from lawyers for final name suppression is expected on Monday.

When all three appeared in court on February 24, Judge Doherty took the rare step of ordering the court to be closed to the public and the media.

In his reasons for closing the court, released to NBR on Thursday, Judge Doherty referred to Voerman as “a beneficiary of the witness protection scheme operated by the police.”

The judge said armed police were in court.

Lawyers told the judge Voerman’s safety may be at issue if the court was opened.

After three reporters were cleared from the court, locked out and made to wait outside for about 20 minutes, Judge Doherty decided his order should not prohibit reporters being admitted to the court.

He rescinded his earlier court-clearing orders, opened the court to reporters, but kept the public out.

Jock Anderson
Thu, 04 Mar 2010
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Woman in drugs trafficking-related case admits guilt
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