JOHOR BARU: Four friends escaped the gallows after the High Court here acquitted and discharged them of drug possession and trafficking charges from five years ago.
Odd job workers T. Muniswaran, 48, P. Sugendran, 35, M. Thiyagan, 38 and S. Arumugam, 35, were jointly charged with trafficking 153.34g of methamphetamine at a house in Kulai on Feb 20,2017.
They were charged under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 for the offence, which could be sentenced under Section 39B(2) of the same Act, and when read with Section 34 of the Penal Code, carries a mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
They were also charged with the possession of 3.22g of ketamine at the same place and time under Section 12(2)/12(3) of the same Act, which could be read with Section 34 of the Penal Code.
In delivering his judgment, Judge Datuk Abu Bakar Kadir ruled that the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case against the accused.
“The prosecution failed to prove that the accused had exclusive possession and trafficking of the drugs. The prosecution also failed to prove a common interest among the four accused, ” he said as he acquitted the four of the charges and ordered their release without calling for their defence.
The four men appeared calm and collected when the judge read his judgement at the Johor Baru High Court here on Wednesday (Jan 27).
Several family members of the accused were also seen shedding tears of joy outside the courtroom.
Muniswaran was represented by lawyer G. Subramaniam Nair and Arumugam was represented by lawyer Sheikh Saleem S.M Daud. Sugendran and Thiyagan were represented by lawyers G.K. Sritaran and P. Rajagunaseelan.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhammad Syafiq Mohd Ghazali prosecuted the case.
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