Fed Court overturns lower courts’ decision to sentence 33yo man to death for drug trafficking

The accused being escorted by prison officers at the courthouse.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, May 19: The Federal Court unanimously overturned the decision of the High Court and Court of Appeals to convict and sentence a 33-year-old man to death for drug trafficking, instead sentencing the man to 17 years’ imprisonment and 10 strokes of the cane.

Lai Thai Leong, 33, was initially convicted under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which carries a death sentence or imprisonment for life and whipping.

The Federal Court found that the appellant deemed to have knowingly trafficked the impugned drugs could not be applied in this case and allowed the appeal and set aside the conviction where he was sentenced to death and convicted the appellant to the charge of possession on the impugned drugs.

Lai was then charged under Section 12(2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, punishable under Section 39A(2) of the same Act and was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment, with effect from the date of arrest, which is May 12, 2016 and 10 strokes of the cane.

Lai was found to have trafficked 855.8g of the drug methamphetamine at a parking space in front of a courier company at Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce, at about 11am on May 12, 2016.

In his counsel Osman Ibrahim and Roger Chin’s submission, they argued that there was doubt between the appellant’s statement and the police’s statement.

He was convicted and sentenced to death in the Kuching High Court on April 19, 2018 and the sentence was affirmed by the Court of Appeals on Oct 22, 2019.

Assigned counsel Osman Ibrahim, Roger Chin, Ernie Natasha Azman and Nur Atiqah Kulah represented the appellant. — DayakDaily