Tuesday, November 30

Man sentenced to death for drug trafficking escapes the gallows

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FREE MAN: Voon (left) talking to Chung outside the Federal Court after judgement was delivered.

KUCHING: A man sentenced to death for drug trafficking escaped the gallows yesterday after his appeal against conviction was allowed by the Federal Court yesterday.

Chung Ngee Hiong, 40, was discharged and acquitted from the charge in his final appeal after the panel of judges led by Chief Justice Tun Ariffin Zakaria ordered he be set free.

Chung was earlier found guilty of trafficking in 85.37g of methylenedioxy-methamphetamine and possessing drugs at about 2am at No. 116, Lot 916, Poh Kwong Park on April 25, 2003.

He was convicted of a charge under Section 39B(1) (a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and punishable under Section 39B(2) of the same act.

On Feb 15, 2008, Chung who maintained his innocence was found guilty in the High Court while on Aug 24 last year, a Court of Appeal affirmed his death sentence.

Sitting yesterday, the Appeals Court – whose other panel members comprise Tan Sri Richard Manlanjum, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Embong Datuk Suriyadi Halim Omar and Datuk Hasan Lah – said no prima facie case was established against the appellant.

In delivering the verdict, the court found it unsafe to sustain the conviction after going through the appeal records and submissions by the defence and prosecution. Chung was represented by defence counsel Voon Lee Shan while DPP Musli Abdul Hamid prosecuted.