Canadian Woman to Stand Trial Charged With Importing Cocaine on Princess Cruise Ship

By ,   December 22, 2016 ,   Accidents

While sailing on a cruise ship, Canadian Melina Roberce‚Äč wrote:

"I used to be afraid to get out of my little town and now I feel like I don't want to see that little town anymore cause it's beautiful out there."

On Wednesday, December 21, the world got a lot smaller for Ms Roberce, with magistrate Robert Williams committing her to stand trial on a charge of importing cocaine on Sea Princess in August.

cocaine on Sea Princess

Ms Roberce, 22, wearing a bright red jacket, sobbed throughout the 30-minute court proceedings, and held a tissue to her nose.

She had mascara streaming down her face when she briefly stood to address the magistrate, saying "no" when asked if she wanted to answer to the charge.

Her cries grew louder as she walked down to the cells beneath Central Local Court, surrounded by Corrective Services officers.

Ms Roberce was detained by Australian Federal Police, alongside her travelling companion Isabelle Lagace, 28, and 64-year-old Andre Tamine when the ship docked in Sydney Harbour.

All three face the same charge of importing a commercial quantity of the drug.

The 95 kilogram stash of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $31 million, was allegedly found in locked suitcases during a search of passenger cabins P312 and C537, in what was the largest drug bust of its kind on board a cruise ship.

Ms Roberce argued she had no knowledge of the drugs and there was no evidence linking her to them, as CCTV footage did not show her carrying the suitcases.

There were also no fingerprints connecting her to the drugs, the court heard. 

Mr Williams acknowledged that the prosecution case against Ms Roberce was circumstantial, but said it was strong when considered in full.

The magistrate said Ms Roberce and Ms Lagace had booked their trip within days of each other, and had the same emergency contacts and emails listed.

"It's highly improbable that a person other than the defendant or Ms Lagace would have stored the items in the suitcases under the bed," Mr Williams said.

"It's also notable that the cabin space was tiny and the suitcases can be described as reasonably large suitcases.

"It's also clear that Ms Roberce and Ms Lagace had shared the cabin for at least 39 days."

Ms Roberce and Ms Lagace documented their trip on board the Sea Princess, making more than two dozen posts on social media. 

They shared photos sunbaking on the cruise ship deck, standing in New York's Time Square, and of tropical waters off Bermuda.

Ms Lagace has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in February.

Ms Roberce and Mr Tamine will be arraigned in the NSW District Court the same month. 

For reports on other Sea Princess ship accidents see at CruiseMinus.com.

Source: smh.com.au