GEORGE TOWN: An Indian national has been sent to the gallows by the High Court for trafficking more than 1.6kg of an illegal drug.
Beautician Sangeeta Sharma Brahmacharimayum, 41, appeared subdued when the decision was conveyed to her by a court interpreter.
But after the court stood down, Sangeeta broke down in tears as she sat in the dock.
The beauty parlour owner from New Delhi was found guilty of trafficking in 1,637.1gm of methamphetamine at about 1am on Oct 7, 2013, at the Penang International Airport.
She was charged in the Balik Pulau magistrate’s court on Oct 20, 2013, under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which carries a mandatory death sentence on conviction.
Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azmi Ariffin ruled that the prosecution had succeeded in proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
He said that he found Sangeeta, the former sister-in-law of the Delhi Deputy Inspector-General of Police, had knowledge of the drug in the suitcase she was carrying.
Azmi said the accused was not an “innocent carrier” as was raised in her defence because evidence proved that she knew the bag she carried contained the drug for trafficking purposes.
He said that Sangeeta had testified in court that she came to Malaysia to start a business, buying and selling clothes from India to Malaysia, on the encouragement of a Nigerian man named Prince.
“Prince had instructed the accused to hand the suitcase containing clothes to his brother and sister-in-law who would meet her at the Penang International Airport upon arrival.
“On Oct 6, 2013, the accused, before going to the airport, had stopped by Prince’s house. He asked the accused to remove her clothes from her sling bag and transferred them to the suitcase,” Azmi said.
He said the court was of the opinion that the accused had knowledge of the drug in the bag because she had the opportunity to check the contents.
“In Sangeeta’s testimony during examination-in-chief, she had said that Prince closed the suitcase and gave it to her before she left for the airport.
“But during cross-examination, she changed her statement to say that she and Prince went together to the New Delhi airport where he checked in the bag,” he said.
Azmi also pointed out that it was strange the accused did not lock the bag during her trip from New Delhi to Penang because it contained her own clothes, as well as those that were specially brought to be sold in Penang.
He noted that the accused had only known Prince for a year and had met with him just several times in that period.
Nine prosecution witnesses were called while the accused was the sole witness for the defence.
Sangeeta was represented by counsel S. Yagoo while DPP Amir Hamzah Othman prosecuted.