SINGAPORE: MAN ESCAPES GALLOWS AFTER BEING CLEARED OF DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGE BY COURT OF APPEAL
April 23, 2020:
A 27-year-old man who was originally handed the death penalty in Singapore for driving his friend to pick up drugs, escaped the gallows on 23 April 2020 after he was cleared by the Court of Appeal. (Sources: straitstimes.com, 23/04/2020)
The acquittal was the first apex court decision to be delivered via video-conferencing platform Zoom since safe-distancing measures were put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The remote hearing was attended by the five judges, the two accused persons, their respective lawyers, a prosecutor and two interpreters. The media was also allowed to observe.
The case involved Mohammad Azli Mohammad Salleh and Roszaidi Osman, 48, who were sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for trafficking in 32.54g of heroin by the High Court last year.
In allowing Azli's appeal against his conviction for abetting Roszaidi, the apex court found that there was no basis to conclude that he knew the drugs in question were heroin.
"On the evidence, the most that can be said is that he believed that Roszaidi was going to collect and transport methamphetamine on the night of the offence," said Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who delivered the judgment.
Azli still faces five pending drug charges in the State Courts, including abetting Roszaidi to traffic in methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine.
On the night of 6 October 2015, Azli drove Roszaidi to collect a bag of drugs from two Malaysians who were in a parked lorry.
Azli then drove to a place near his friend's home, where Roszaidi passed most of the drugs to his wife.
The five people involved in the transaction were arrested soon after.
Roszaidi's appeal against conviction for trafficking was dismissed.
However, the court sent his case back to the High Court for psychiatric evidence to be heard to determine whether he should get life imprisonment instead.
The other judges on the panel were Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang, Judith Prakash, Tay Yong Kwang and Steven Chong.