Lorraine Smith was the defence counsel for Mr Trevor Miranda, an Aucklander who was duped into smuggling 1.5kg of Methamphetamine in hidden compartments of his bag in November 2013.

Mr Miranda declared the bags at Auckland International Airport and only then realised he had been exploited and tricked into importing Class A drugs into New Zealand.

This incident occurred at the end of a 13-year long scam where Mr Miranda was approached by various organisations, which manipulated him and took advantage of his naivety and vulnerability. This final scam, arranged by a ‘Daniel Tucker’ was an elaborate rouse which eventually led to Mr Miranda bringing through bags from Papua New Guinea, which contained 1.5kg of Methamphetamine.

Mrs Smith told the jury that the scammers capitalised on her client’s desire to help people. “Mr Tucker hooked into that desire to build an orphanage and help needy people so that he could manipulate and groom Mr Miranda to unwittingly bring drugs into New Zealand… He knew the right button to push and he pushed it.”

Mr Miranda, who was facing the possibility of life imprisonment, was acquitted after an 11-week trial in the High Court at Auckland. In court, he cried tears of joy, describing the feeling as ‘ecstatic’ when the jury found him not guilty of all charges.

Read the full NZ Herald article and watch the interview with Mr Miranda here.