PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): A hawker was sentenced to death by the Court of Appeal here on Wednesday (July 29) for trafficking in 41.70g of heroin and monoacetylmorphine (a metabolite of heroin) drugs.
This was after a three-member panel chaired by Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin allowed the prosecution's cross-appeal to substitute the life imprisonment and 15 strokes of whipping imposed by the High Court on Zaliman Zakaria, to a death sentence.
Justice Nor Bee, who presided with Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail and Datuk Nordin Hassan, held that there were merits in the appeal.
She, however, dismissed Zaliman's appeal against his conviction for trafficking in the drugs.
Zaliman, 33, was found guilty of trafficking the drugs and was sentenced to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the rotan by the Penang High Court in January last year.
According to the charge sheet, Zaliman committed the offence in front of an apartment in Permatang Damar Laut, Batu Maung, Bayan Lepas, Penang around 12.30pm on Feb 1, 2016.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nahra Dollah said the trial judge did not fulfil the conditions set out in Section 39B(2A) of the Dangerous Drug Act 1952 (DDA) when exercising his discretion to sentence Zaliman to life imprisonment.
Section 39B of the Dangerous Drug Act 1952 was amended in 2017 to give the courts the option to sentence a person convicted of drug trafficking with death or imprisonment for life and if not sentenced to death, can also be punished with whipping.
The law came into effect on March 15, 2018.
Nahra said the trial judge, in exercising his discretion to sentence life imprisonment must consider which limb that the accused had fulfilled under subsection 39B (2A) and failure to do so amounted to a misdirection.
Zaliman's lawyer Anwar Raof submitted that the trial court judge erred in law and facts when he found Zaliman guilty of trafficking in the drugs.
He said the drugs were found in the car belonging to Zaliman's mother although he (Zaliman) had the car key, adding that Zaliman did not have knowledge of the drug.- Bernama
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