PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court is expected to hear the first batch of review applications brought by death row prisoners under the Revision of Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act 2023 (Act 847) today.
The Federal Court will hear 11 review applications and another 14 on Thursday.
Lawyer Guok Ngek Seong, when contacted by Bernama, said the application of his client, Teh Hock Leong, who has been in prison since 1999 and on death row for 20 years, is first on the list.
Teh was convicted and sentenced to death by the Shah Alam High Court in 2003 for trafficking 580.3g of methamphetamine at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and has exhausted all appeals.
His appeals to the Court of Appeal and Federal Court were dismissed on May 14, 2008 and Oct 23, 2009, respectively.
Guok and senior lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik are representing Teh, 52, who will plead for his death sentence to be commuted to a jail term.
The Federal Court was granted the discretion to review cases involving death sentences in light of Act 847, which took effect on Sept 12 this year.
This followed the Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty Act 2023, which came into force on July 4, removing the mandatory death sentence for offences such as drug trafficking and murder.
Under the new law, judges have the discretion to impose either the death penalty or a prison sentence for a period of not less than 30 years and up to 40 years. If not sentenced to death, the person will also be punished with whipping of not less than 12 strokes for male convicts below 50 years of age.
Deputy law and institutional reform minister Ramkarpal Singh, early last week, told the Dewan Rakyat that the Federal Court had received 924 review applications as of Oct 31, and that the filing and hearing of reviews of sentences would be held in phases.