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CPS statement on conviction of Martin Newman

11/08/2010

Tony Connell, reviewing lawyer for CPS London, said: "Lascell Malcolm died after an extraordinary and tragic chain of events that started in St Lucia and ended in Hackney with him fatally drinking liquid cocaine from what he thought was a bottle of rum.

"Mr Malcolm, who was a taxi driver with two children, had generously refused to take money for driving a friend home from Gatwick airport. Instead, he accepted a bottle of rum as a gift. Unknown to Mr Malcolm or his friend, that rum had been heavily infused with cocaine. The only person who did know was Martin Newman.

"The Crown Prosecution Service charged Mr Newman with importing Class A drugs and manslaughter by gross negligence. The manslaughter charge was on the basis that the defendant's actions in the Caribbean made him responsible for Mr Malcolm's death days later in London. The case we put to the jury was that the defendant owed a duty of care to Mr Malcolm, a man he'd never met, and to everyone else who came into contact with the bottle. In dissolving so much cocaine in the rum Mr Newman had grossly breached that duty of care and caused the tragic death of an innocent man. The guilty verdict shows that the jury accepted our arguments.

"Our case received crucial assistance from witnesses who travelled from Switzerland and St Lucia to give evidence against Mr Newman. He blamed them for the death in an attempt to escape the consequences of his total disregard for the well-being of others, but they are innocent. We thank them for the courage they have shown in giving evidence, and we hope the conviction they helped secure today will bring some comfort to Mr Malcolm's family and friends."