During a hearing in late August, a 32-year-old defendant from a small town in northern Bavaria almost escaped a guilty verdict. The suspect, a Burgkunstadt man, had allegedly ordered 100 grams of amphetamine from a darknet vendor. However, like several recent cases in Germany, the prosecution struggled to prove that the suspect, though he had lived at the house, had actually placed the order for the amphetamine.
Even with a lack of evidence that was anything but circumstantial, the prosecution still argued that the defendant ordered the drugs. Several of the circumstantial pieces of evidence were enough to prove the man’s guilt, the Court said. Roles reversed, the defense, with a lack of evidence proved his innocence, argued to instill reasonable doubt in the eyes of the Court. Long story short, the Court won. And did so in stark contrast to several recent cases where the defendants walked home as free men (or with only probation), thanks to similar doubt.
The case of the 32-year-old Burgkunstadt suspect started in 2016. The package bore the suspect’s name and address along with a fictitious return address. However, assuming the package was destined for the man’s house intentionally, the defense noted, asking, “how can anyone be sure the package even belonged to the defendant?” The defendant had lived with his brother at the time.
Forensic investigators answered the questions that shifted going away from the 32-year-old. First, after searching the suspect’s computer, they found a “browser typically used to enter the darknet.” Additionally, forensic experts explained, his computer revealed that the defendant used Bitcoin at some point in time. Expert witnesses explained some of the uses of Bitcoin to the Court.
“[Bitcoin is] a digital currency that is used [as a payment method] on Internet shops,” they said. “However, this is often the case for shops on the darknet, the Internet that is used for dark schemes.” Three so-called cybercops gave like statements regarding the case, online drug purchases, the darknet, and Bitcoin. One source reported that they showed gaps in their knowledge but recognized the gravity of the case as it involved Bitcoin and the darknet.
The 32-year-old’s fate was sealed after several days of deliberation. He was sentenced to one year and three months of imprisonment, three years of probation, and 80 hours of community service.
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