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Singapre: Man succeeds in appeal against death sentence for alleged drug trafficking


Tuesday 06 Mar 2012

SINGAPORE - A man has been spared the gallows, after the Appeal Court set aside his conviction.

Justice V K Rajah, who delivered the judgement of the court today, said the evidence was far from sufficient to support the conviction of Azman Sanwan.

It was also inconclusive in establishing beyond reasonable doubt the ingredients of the crime allegedly committed by the Appellant.

Azman, then 38, had been sentenced to death by the High Court in July 2010, for trafficking in 1,525.7 grammes of cannabis.

Two other men involved in the same case - Tamil Selvan and M Balasubramaniam - were jointly tried with him but were found not guilty.

All three men were caught in a sting operation by Central Narcotics Bureau officers in April 2007 at a carpark in Yishun Ring Road.

Azman was seen transferring a paper bag from the back of a car to the boot of another car.

Officers found a wrapped bundle containing vegetable matter in the bag, containing the cannabis.

Azman said he did not to know how the drugs got into his car.

Bala and Tamil, who were at the back of the car, also claimed they did not know of the cannabis.

But Azman did not offer any "consistent explanation" on why the paper bag was found in the boot of the car, along with an "abundance of evidence" against him.

He appealed against the decision of the High Court Trial judge, who had acquitted his two co-accused of the same capital charge.

In ruling that the Azman had succeeded in his appeal, Justice Rajah said: "After careful consideration, we cannot say that the evidence on record reveals that the Appellant is any more culpable than Tamil and Bala (who were both acquitted), especially given that traces of cannabis were found in Bala's urine whereas no trace was found in the Appellant's urine.

"Whatever its reasons might be, the Prosecution has not appealed against Tamil's and Bala's acquittals. We are thus placed in the difficult position of having to treat those acquittals as correct in law, and to assess the Appellant's culpability on precisely the same evidential scales as those employed by the Trial Judge to acquit Tamil and Bala." CHANNEL NEWSASIA




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