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Soldiers' drug convictions overturned

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/10/2016

Two soldiers court-martialed for taking the psychedelic drug NBOMe in a Palmerston North bar have had their convictions quashed.

Lance Corporal Joshua Mapson and Private Barclay Bishop were sentenced to two weeks' detention and fined a total of about $1500 by the Court Martial at Linton Military Camp in May.

They were arrested along with six other soldiers after becoming irrational and incoherent while at a pub in October 2015.

But the Court Martial Appeal Court has now thrown out their convictions, saying a statement L/Cpl Mapson made after his arrest was improperly obtained, because he wasn't cautioned by military police.

"We doubt the in-cell statement was a voluntary admission, or reliable," it said.

The appeal court also found the drug tests taken from the two men weren't admissible because they weren't taken by military officials, and that the judge's direction to the military members had not been balanced.

"As a result, the defence case was not fairly put or directed upon."

The court also ordered L/Cpl Mapson's rank - which was reduced due to the conviction - should also be restored.

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