Welder escapes gallows over trafficking conviction

Mohamed Kanathi Meera Mydin thanks counsel M Manoharan after his acquittal by the Court of Appeal.

PUTRAJAYA: A welder escaped the gallows today after the Court of Appeal allowed his appeal against a conviction of trafficking 1.9kg of cannabis four years ago.

A three-member bench chaired by Ahmadi Asnawi said Mohamed Kanathi Meera Mydin’s conviction and sentence were unsafe as the trial court had relied on the evidence of an accomplice.

“There is also doubt as to who the drugs belonged to,” he said in a brief oral ruling.

The other judges on the panel were Abdul Rahman Sebli and Kamardin Hashim.

Earlier, lawyer M Manoharan who was assigned by the court told the bench the accused had been arrested with another suspect, Mohd Shariffudeen Noorul Ameen.

He said both were charged with trafficking the drugs at Jalan Gurdwara in Penang island at 10.45pm on Sept 20, 2014.

“However, Shariffudeen was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal just before the trial began.

“The co-accused took the stand and gave evidence against Kanathi.”

The lawyer said the evidence of a co-accused who had been given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal should not be accepted as it could be inferred that he was induced.

He also said the trial judge had relied heavily on Shariffudeen’s evidence to convict Kanathi, 43.

The High Court convicted Kanathi last year after hearing from eight prosecution witnesses as well as the accused who was the sole defence witness.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Vedder urged the bench to uphold the conviction, saying the trial judge had been correct in both facts and law.