SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): A 31-year-old Malaysian drug trafficker on death row failed in an 11th-hour attempt on Wednesday (July 6) for a stay on his execution scheduled on Thursday (July 7).
The lawyer for Kalwant Singh Jogindar Singh argued before the Court of Appeal that his client had given information to the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) about a suspect who was eventually arrested.
Lawyer Too Xing Ji told the packed courtroom that the CNB does not deny that the suspect was arrested in a white Honda Integra car that Kalwant Singh had informed the bureau about.
Too said there was an arguable case that Kalwant Singh had substantively assisted the CNB.
Under the law, drug couriers who are certified by the prosecution to have substantively assisted the CNB in disrupting drug trafficking activities can be sentenced to life imprisonment and caning instead of the death penalty.
The three-judge court described Too's efforts as "valiant" but dismissed the application for a stay of execution.
Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said the CNB has stated on oath that it did not use the information provided by Kalwant Singh.
The CNB stated that the information that led to the suspect's arrest was the result of investigations into a unrelated case.
Leaving aside the lateness of the application, Kalwant Singh bore the burden of putting forward evidence to show that the CNB had used the information he provided, said the Chief Justice.
After the application was dismissed, Too asked the court to let Kalwant Singh's family members see him one last time.
Kalwant Singh had attended the hearing via video conference.
Too also asked to be allowed to make one last phone call to his client.
Chief Justice Menon said these were matters for the Singapore Prison Service to assist and urged prosecutors to help in the arrangements.
Kalwant Singh was convicted in June 2016 of two charges involving 181.05g of heroin in total.
He was jointly tried with two others - Mohamad Yazid Md Yusof and Norasharee Gous.
Yazid, who was issued a certificate of substantive assistance, was sentenced to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane.
The appeals of Kalwant Singh and Norasharee were dismissed in March 2017.
Kalwant Singh disputed having actual knowledge that the substance in the bundles he carried were heroin, while Norasharee claimed he was being framed by Yazid.
Their petitions for clemency were unsuccessful.
Both men are scheduled to be hanged on Thursday.
In a statement on Tuesday responding to media queries, the CNB said the pair were accorded full due process under the law, and were represented by legal counsel throughout the process.
"The capital punishment is used only for the most serious crimes, such as the trafficking of significant quantities of drugs which cause very serious harm, not just to individual drug abusers, but also to their families and the wider society," said the CNB.