PUTRAJAYA: A former bird's nest seller escaped the gallows after the Court of Appeal here set aside his conviction and death sentence on two drug trafficking charges.
A three-member panel comprising Court of Appeal judges Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said, Datuk Wira Ahmad Nasfy Yasin and High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan allowed Tan Chen Xing's appeal after finding that there was merit in his appeal here on Friday (Sept 30).
Justice Kamaludin, who led the panel of judges, said Tan's conviction for drug trafficking was not safe to be upheld as the High Court judge did not make comprehensive findings on the evidence.
The court also set aside Tan's conviction and jail sentences for the other two charges of possessing 0.06g of nimetazepam and for the possession of 299.2g of phenazepam poison without a valid licence.
For the drug trafficking charges, Tan was charged with trafficking 361.8g of ketamine and 156.52g of methamphetamine.
Tan was accused of committing the offences at a condominium in Lebuh Minden 1 Gelugor, Penang at 4pm on Nov 10, 2016.
In 2020, the Penang High Court found Tan guilty of the offences. He was sentenced to death for trafficking the drugs. For possessing nimetazepam, Tan was sentenced to two years in jail, and received a one year's imprisonment for possessing phenazepam.
Tan's lawyer Hussaini Abdul Rashid argued that the High Court judge failed to consider that there were five people who stayed in the condominium and that his client was not the only person who had access to the unit.
He said Tan stayed in the third room of the condominium and not the first room where the drugs were found.
Hussaini said his client would have to go back to prison to receive 10 strokes of the cane before he could be released, as he was sentenced to five years in jail and 10 strokes of the cane by a Sessions Court after he pleaded guilty to possessing drugs in his pocket.
He said Tan had completed serving his jail sentence but had not yet received the whipping.
Deputy Public Prosecutors K.Mangai and Khairul Aisamuddin Abdul Rahman appeared for the prosecution. – Bernama