Nigeria convicts drugs-running French grandma

22nd April 2004, Comments 0 comments

LAGOS, April 21 (AFP) - A Nigerian court convicted a 51-year-old French woman of cocaine smuggling on Wednesday, leaving the mother of five children facing up to 15 years in prison.

LAGOS, April 21 (AFP) - A Nigerian court convicted a 51-year-old French woman of cocaine smuggling on Wednesday, leaving the mother of five children facing up to 15 years in prison.

Jacqueline Vigouroux, who is from the Bordeaux region of France and also has two grandchildren, had confessed to smuggling four kilos of cocaine into the west African country at a previous hearing at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

"Based on admission of guilt and evidence before me, I convict the accused as charged," Justice Abdul Kafarati said, remanding the accused in custody until a sentencing hearing on May 11.

Vigouroux's defence lawyer Oluwakemi Shnayder told AFP said she would prepare a plea of mitigation and was hopeful that the 15-year maximum sentence would not be passed after the ten month long trial.

"We are very optimistic that when we present the alocutus (final defence plea) in May, the court will tender justice with mercy and impose the minimum sentence on her," she said.

Prosecution counsel Ralph Hinmikaiye had presented the court with 13 exhibits, including two bags of cocaine, a French passport and identity card and a forensic laboratory report on the seized substance.

"In the course of investigation, the evidence recovered from the accused was weighed and the weight was four kilogrammes. A preliminary test was conducted on the substance and the result was cocaine," he said.

Vigouroux was arrested on arrival at Abuja International Airport on July 10 last year when customs officials found the cocaine in her luggage.

Vigouroux looked agitated and disturbed throughout the hearing, and covered her face to avoid being photographed.

The mother covered her face to avoid being photographed when officials led her to the van which would return her to a Lagos prison.


© AFP

                                            Subject: French news

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