Denial on synthetic drugs charge

A woman charged with possessing synthetic drugs with intent to supply them – arrested in police raids last week – has pleaded not guilty in the Christchurch District Court.

Lani Hawkins, 21, has denied the charge at a video-link appearance after bail was refused at a hearing earlier in the week.

She has elected to be tried by a judge-alone.

Judge Brian Callaghan remanded her in custody for a case review hearing by video-link from the prison on November 27.

A man facing two charges arising from the same police raids in the Phillipstown area on October 4, Jaron Levi Wilson, 23, was refused bail by Judge Callaghan after a hearing.

Police opposed bail for both defendants. At the time of the raids they cited concerns about the health effects of people found using synthetic drugs in the area. Some had been found unconscious or near unconscious, and health authorities are reporting continued hospitalisations.

Wilson was remanded in custody for an appearance by video-link on November 1, when Judge Callaghan said he would be expected to enter pleas to charges of supplying a psychoactive drug, and refusing passwords that would give police access to cellphones under the Search and Surveillance Act.

A third person charged after the raids, Tyjhan Hawkins, 25, of Woolston, has already been granted a registrar’s remand without plea to October 30 on charges of possession of a psychoactive substance and resisting a constable.