SINGAPORE: The Singapore Court of Appeal on Tuesday reserved its judgment on Malaysian Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam’s appeal against a High Court decision which denied him permission to start judicial review proceedings to challenge his execution for a drug trafficking offence.
The hearing today was heard before a five-member panel composed of Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and judges Andrew Phang, Judith Prakash, Belinda Ang and Chao Hick Tin.
“We will reserve judgment and come back to you soon,” said Menon in a packed courtroom.
Apart from his appeal, Nagaenthran, who was represented by Violet Netto, also asked the court to exercise its powers to have him assessed by psychiatrists.
“He (Menon) said he will release the judgment very soon but he didn’t give a date.
“I don’t think it is today,” public prosecutor Wong Woon Kwong said when asked about the expected date for the judgment to be released.
Donning a purple prison uniform, Nagaenthran appeared calm and waved to someone who is believed to be his family member in the public sitting area before the hearing started.
Hailing from Perak, he was sentenced to death in 2010 for trafficking in 42.72gm of heroin into Singapore in 2009.
His appeals against his conviction and sentence were dismissed in 2011.
He then applied in 2015 to reduce his sentence to life imprisonment after the law was changed to allow the alternative sentence.
The High Court however upheld his death sentence in 2017 after considering expert evidence from four psychiatric and psychological experts.
The process of appeal went through to the final stage, and his application for presidential clemency was rejected on June 1, 2020.
Nagaenthran’s case had drawn international attention.
On Nov 7, it was reported that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had written to his Singapore counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, seeking leniency in this case.
On Dec 3, Singapore President Halimah Yacob said Nagaenthran had been accorded the full due process under the law.
Nagaenthran’s lawyers claim that he is intellectually disabled.
He was scheduled to be hanged on Nov 10, 2021, but was given a temporary respite on Nov 9 after the court was told he had tested positive for Covid-19 when he appeared for a last-bid attempt against his sentence.