Man goes free after High Court accepts appeal

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KUCHING: The Kuching High Court yesterday accepted the appeal of a man to set aside his sentence of two years and five months in prison and three lashes for possessing drugs five years ago.

Judge Alwi Abdul Wahab allowed Sim Chia Heng’s appeal to be set aside after hearing arguments from his lawyer Osman Ibrahim and the arguments of deputy public prosecutor Ronie Entili.

Earlier this year on Feb 19, the accused was sentenced to two years and five months in prison and three lashes of the cane under Section 12 of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

He could be sentenced under Section 39 (1) of the same Act by the Kota Samarahan Session’s Court for possession of 5.28g of methamphetamine.

According to the charge sheet, the accused was arrested at a house at Taman Merdang Gayam at 2.15pm on Feb 21, 2017.

As a result of the raid, the police found a transparent plastic containing a crystalline lump which was methamphetamine.

The accused pleaded not guilty and the prosecution asked six witnesses to testify to prove the prima facie case.

The accused was subsequently convicted when he failed to refute the prosecution’s evidence. Dissatisfied, he appealed against the sentence to the High Court.

Alwi ruled that there was an advantage in the accused’s appeal, especially with regard to the evidence of detention, control and possession of drugs seized by authorities, which were not considered and assessed by the Session’s Court.

Before this, it was stated that a black bag, believed to contain drugs, was found while the accused was sleeping in a modified room.

Alwi pointed out that it was easy for other occupants and construction workers to access the room although at that time, only the accused was in it.

As such, he ruled that it was unsafe to impose a sentence on the appellant and accepted Sim’s appeal to set aside the imprisonment and caning sentences imposed by the Session’s Court.

Besides Osman, the accused was also represented by Nuratikah Kulah.

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