New Delhi: A foreign national has been held guilty by the Delhi High Court of possessing over a kilogram of heroine and trying to smuggle it out of the country four
years ago.

Justice Mukta Gupta convicted Konan Jean, setting aside his acquittal by the trial court, which had let him off in March on minor discrepancies in prosecution evidence.

The high court set aside Jean's acquittal, terming the trial court judgement as "illegal and perverse." "I find the judgement of the learned trial court acquitting the respondent (Jean) as illegal and perverse.

The same is set aside. The respondent is convicted for offences under Sections 21(c) (possession of commercial quantity of drug), 23(c) (smuggling of drug) and 28 (trying to commit various offences under the NDPS Act) of the NDPS Act," the
court said.

In its ruling, the high court said conviction in criminal cases requires "proof beyond reasonable doubts" and not ideal ones, free from all blemishes.

"A criminal trial is a quest for truth. The prosecution is required to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and not by way of perfect proof free from all blemishes," Justice
Gupta said.

The high court, however, is yet to sentence Jean, who faces the prospect of a minimum 10 years of jail term, which may extend up to 20 years, besides a minimum fine of Rs 1 lakh which may again go up to Rs 2 lakh.

Jean was arrested from Indira Gandhi International Airport here on March 13, 2007 minutes before he was to board a flight to Bangkok with 1087 gms of heroin "thrust up his
body" in 77 capsules.

As Jean, wearing an overcoat, reached the check-in counter at the airport with a trolley but no other check-in luggage, he raised the suspicion of custom officials.

Asked if he was carrying any contraband, he said he was just carrying USD 2000 besides small changes of Indian currency totalling Rs 450.

But on his search, a small drug capsule was found stitched inside his overcoat lining. On sustained interrogation, he confessed to the Custom authorities that he had 77 such capsules "thrust up his body".

Following his confession, he was arrested and produced before a magisterial court and was later admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where he "ejected" all drugs capsules out of his body under medical supervision and assistance.

(Agencies)