A SUSPECTED drug dealer told a jury he was in the area to visit the Malvern Hills and have a meal, not sell heroin.

Usman Shazad, of Brantford Road, Birmingham, is accused of possessing heroin with intent to supply to Malvern drug users.

He also faces a second charge of conspiracy to supply class A drugs with Rubel Miah.

On the second day of his trial at Worcester Crown Court yesterday, the 26-year-old took to the stand and was asked by his defence barrister, Simon Ward, why he had been with Miah in Malvern on June 23, 2018. “I was going to a restaurant (with him),” Shazad replied.

After the car he was in with Miah was stopped by police in North Malvern Road, officers searched Shazad and found £165 on him, which the prosecution allege is from drug dealing. Shazad was asked where the money had come from and he answered: “It was from the sale of a vehicle.”

Shazad was then asked about a phone the prosecution say had hundreds of drug related contacts stored, which was found to have his fingerprint on. Shazad explained he spilt liquid in the car so reached into the glovebox for baby wipes, and moved the phone.

Mr Ward also asked about another phone, found on Shazad, that had no links to drug dealing, which Shazad confirmed was correct.

Mr Ward then asked: “Are you a drug dealer:” to which Shazad replied “No”.

In cross examination, prosecutor Michael Aspinall said: “You have given evidence of what you were doing in Malvern. That is the first time you have done so in public?” to which Shazad replied “Yes”. Mr Aspinall asked why he had not answered police questions in interview. “I was given guidance (by a solicitor) to give a no comment interview,” Shazad replied.

Mr Aspinall again asked why he had gone to Malvern with Miah that day, to which Shazad replied: “To go to an Indian restaurant. For a day out on the Malvern Hills.”

Mr Aspinall asked: “To see the sunset on the hills?” to which Shazad replied “Yes”.

Mr Aspinall then said: “You are making this up as you go along. That is not true. You knew Miah was a drug dealer, you went to Malvern to sell drugs, didn’t you?” Shazad replied “No”.

The prosecution and defence then summed up their cases. Mr Aspinall told the jury: “You have heard from him it was an 80-mile round trip to go to an Indian restaurant from Birmingham – the Balti capital of the world - and possibly to go to the Malvern Hills to see the sunset. It is a matter for you if you believe one iota of that.”

Mr Ward, summing up, said: “He (Shazad) has nothing to connect him to drug dealing. All the prosecution have got is a single finger print on a phone.”

The trial continues.

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