Sunday, July 5

Drug trafficker’s death sentence affirmed

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KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Court here yesterday affirmed the death sentence of a local cook for trafficking in 147.94 grammes of syabu five years ago.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, who sat with Federal Court judges Datuk Seri Md Raus Sharif and Datuk Abdull Hamid Embong, unanimously dismissed Wong Vui Chin’s appeal against a Court of Appeal’s decision in upholding the death sentence imposed by a High Court here.

Malanjum, in dismissing the appeal after hearing submissions from Wong’s assigned counsel Peter Vung and senior federal counsel Salim Soib Ahmad, held that there was no merit in the appeal.

On Oct 21, 2005, Wong was sentenced to death by High Court Judge (now Court of Appeal Judge) Datuk Sulong Matjeraie after the former was found guilty of trafficking in 147.94 grams of syabu at the Customs inspection area at the departure hall of the ferry terminal, Labuan about 5.55pm on June 16, 2000.

Wong was tried under Section 39B (1) (a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 which provides for the mandatory death sentence, on conviction.

On Nov 17, 2009, the Court of Appeal upheld the death sentence saying that even though there was a misdirection of evidence, but from the totality of evidence adduced during the trial supported the conviction of Wong. Earlier, Wong, among others, submitted that the appellant had physically possessed a yellow plastic bag which contained the drug but he had no knowledge of it.

He said that at the time when the police arrested Wong, the latter did not put up any struggle, attempt to run away or throw away the drug.

In rebutting Wong’s submissions, Salim told the three bench-judges that there was direct evidence that the appellant had possessed and knowledge of the drug.

He said that Wong’s action of turning around and walking away when seeing the police showed that he had knowledge of the drug.