PUTRAJAYA: Three men, including two foreign nationals, were sentenced to 15 years in jail and ordered to be given 10 strokes of the rotan each after they pleaded guilty to possessing about 9kg of methamphetamine (or syabu) eight years ago.
A three-member Court of Appeal bench chaired by Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail, backdated the sentences of odd-job worker K Dinakaran, 43, Bangladeshi Asraful Alam, 28, and Indian national M Arivazhagan, 50, to Aug 13, 2016, the date of their arrest.
Earlier, Hadhariah, who sat with Justices Azman Abdullah and SM Komathy Suppiah, set aside the death sentence for trafficking imposed on the trio by the High Court in 2019.
They were alleged to have trafficked 9,179.3gm of the substance at a house in Ampang, Selangor, at about noon on Aug 13, 2016.
Hadhariah said the bench agreed with lawyer Afifuddin Ahmad Hafifi that the trafficking charge was defective.
“It was worded as trafficking by manufacturing when it should have been a preparatory act to manufacture the drugs,” she said.
Further, she said, the trial judge had failed to inform the accused persons at the close of the prosecution case whether there was actual or presumed possession to enable them to prepare their defence.
“An adverse inference should also be drawn on the prosecution for not calling or offering material witnesses to the defence,” she said, adding that the conviction for trafficking was unsafe.
Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Solehah Noratikah Ismail suggested a jail term of between 18 and 20 years, taking into account the weight of the drug.
Under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, a person is presumed to be a trafficker if he is in possession of 30gm or more of methamphetamine.
Afifudin, on the other hand, proposed a custodial sentence of between 10 and 15 years as that was the sentencing trend in 2016.