Drugs: Former cook escapes the gallows, jailed 18 years instead

Drugs: Former cook escapes the gallows, jailed 18 years instead

PUTRAJAYA: A former cook escaped the death penalty when the Federal Court set aside his conviction and death sentence for trafficking 4,754 gm of cannabis, eight years ago.

A three-judge panel led by Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed instead convicted the appellant, Rozman Ibrahim, 37, for the possession of the drugs, and sentenced him to 18 years in prison and 10 strokes of the cane.

The court ordered the jail sentence to start from the date of his arrest on Nov 12, 2013.

During the judgment, Azahar said the conviction and death sentence meted out against the appellant under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 (ADB) was unsafe, as the Shah Alam High Court judge had made confusing findings on drug possession and distribution by the appellant when he was called to defend himself.

“A miscarriage of justice has occurred on the appellant as no direction was given to the appellant on the burden imposed on him. The Court of Appeal has also erred in applying the proviso of Section 60 (1) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.

“However, based on the available evidence, the court is satisfied that the appellant possessed 4,754 grams of cannabis. With this, the court allows the appellant’s appeal to set aside the hanging, and replace it with the offence of drug possession,“ said Azahar, who sat with judges Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof.

Rozman had appealed against the decision of the Court of Appeal on Sept 12, 2019, which upheld the decision of the Shah Alam High Court of sentencing him to death by hanging on Oct 31, 2017.

He was found guilty of the charge of distributing the drugs in the Taman Medan Pejasa car park, Petaling at 7.30pm, Nov 12, 2013, under Section 39B (1) (a) ADB 1952.

Earlier, lawyer Suzana Norlihan Alias, who represented Rozman, argued that her client did not get a fair trial, resulting in a lack of justice.

“The Court of Appeal judge erred in failing to take into account the appellant’s defence, and instead agreed with the findings of the High Court judge without examining all the existing evidence from the prosecution and defence,“ he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Siew Wee argued that the conviction against the appellant was safe and supported by sufficient evidence to prove the elements of the charges against the appellant.

“The respondent (public prosecutor) requests that this court not alter the findings and decision of the High Court judge and the decision reached by the panel of Court of Appeal judges in this case, further dismissing the appellant’s appeal and upholding the conviction and sentence passed against him,“ he said. — Bernama