KUCHING: An unemployed man missed the gallows for distributing 855.8 grams of syabu, when the Federal Court substituted the charge to possession of drugs.
A three-judge Federal Court panel headed by Chief Justice of Malaya, Tan Seri Azahar Mohamed along with Chief Justices of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Seri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan today allowed the appeal of Lai Thai Leong, 33, to set aside the mandatory death sentence.
The court instead sentenced him to 17 years in prison and 10 lashes after substituting the charge for possession.
Lai Thai is serving a prison sentence starting from the date he was arrested on May 12, 2016.
Before the verdict was given, the court fixed the death sentence handed down by the High Court and the Court of Appeal for the offence of drug trafficking to be replaced by the offence of possession of drugs under Section 12 of the ADB read together with Section 39A (2) of the same act.
Earlier, on April 19, 2018, the High Court sentenced the appellant to death by hanging after he was convicted under Section 39B (1) (a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act (ADB) 1952.
Later, the decision was upheld again during an appeal in the Court of Appeal on October 22, 2019.
The appellant, who was represented by four lawyers, namely, Roger Chin, Osman Ibrahim, Ernie Natasha Azman and Nur Atiqah Kulah, appealed to the Federal Court.
According to the charge, he was charged with committing the offence at a car park at Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce, at about 11.00 am, on May 12, 2016.
Based on the facts of the case, during the incident, he picked up a parcel at the courier office.
He was reprimanded from behind by policemen and immediately threw away the package.
The statement was also supported by two witnesses.
The case was handled by Deputy Public Prosecutor Nahra Abdullah.