Indon to hang for drugs after all
Published on: Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: A 29-year-old Indonesian man was sent to the gallows after the Federal Court overturned his conviction and sentence for trafficking 1,155.96gm of syabu.A five-member panel chaired by Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Haji Maarop and Federal Court Judges Tan Sri Zainun Ali, Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed and Tan Sri Wira Aziah Ali allowed the prosecution's appeal, ruling that there was evidence of trafficking and that the Court of Appeal was wrong in substituting the charge against Romi Ali.

They set aside the Court of Appeal's decision and reinstated the decision of the High Court to convict Romi on trafficking the drugs and sentenced him to death.

Romi, a labourer, was on Dec 23, 2015 sentenced to death by the Tawau High Court after he was found guilty of trafficking the drugs at 6.40am on March 4, 2013 beside a river at Pasir Putih Tanjung Batu Log Pond in Tawau.

The charge under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act carries the death penalty on conviction.

However, the Court of Appeal on Nov 15, 2016, following an appeal by Romi against the High Court's decision, overturned the conviction and sentence and sentenced Romi to 17 years' jail and ordered him be given 10 lashes of the cane on a lesser charge of possession.

The prosecution on Tuesday appealed against the Court of Appeal's decision.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Norinna Bahadun submitted, among others, that the Court of Appeal had erred in making a ruling that trafficking had not been established and had disagreed with the finding of the High Court.

The High Court Judge had scrutinised the availability evidence and had made the correct finding that Romi was trafficking in the said drugs, said DPP Norinna, adding that the Court of Appeal had erred in focusing on the erroneous finding of fact of the High Court Judge without addressing the totality of the High Court Judge's finding which also looked at other circumstantial evidence.

The Court of Appeal had erred in making a finding that "the circumstantial evidence adduced had fallen short" – when there is ample evidence to support a finding of trafficking against Romi, submitted DPP Norinna, adding that, the amount of drugs found in the said bag (1155,96gm of Syabu) which supports the inference that such a high amount was for the purpose of trafficking and not personal consumption.

DPP Norinna added that there was ample evidence to show that Romi had indeed engaged in trafficking of the said drugs. Counsel Ram Singh, representing Romi, together with counsel Kamarudddin Mohamed Chinki and Kimberly Yee rebutted that the Court of Appeal had in fact deliberated and answered the issues raised by the appellant.

They urged the court to dismiss the appellant's appeal and affirm the conviction and sentence passed under Section 12(2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act and punishable under Section 39A(2) of the DDA which carries an imprisonment for life or not less than five year and liability of whipping of not less than 10 strokes on conviction. - Jo Ann Mool


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