MALAYSIA: VIETNAMESE MOM ESCAPES GALLOWS, JAILED 20 YEARS FOR DRUG POSSESSION INSTEAD
March 28, 2016: A Vietnamese woman shed tears of joy in court after she was spared the gallows in Malaysia for allegedly trafficking in 2.1kg methamphetamine at the Penang International Airport in 2011.
Nguyen Thanh Ngoc Tuyet, 28, in red and white prison clothes, who was sitting in the dock was seen sobbing when the Federal Court announced its verdict to set aside her conviction for drug trafficking.
However, the mother of a child, would have to spend 20 years in jail after the Federal Courtâ€™s five-man panel chaired by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif convicted her for possession of the drugs.
He, however, ruled that on totality of evidence, the court was satisfied that Nguyen Thanh was in custody of a bag in which the methamphetamine was concealed.
Nguyen Thanh was found guilty by the George Town High Court on July 18, 2012 for trafficking in the drugs at the arrival hall of the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas at 10.10am on June 26, 2011 and was sentenced to death.
She lost her appeal at the Court of Appeal on March 20, last year to set aside her conviction and death sentence even though two Vietnamese police officers had testified that they had recorded statements from a woman named Tran Tranh Tam who had said that she had did not tell Nguyen Thanh that the goods she was transporting was drugs but instead told her they were clothes.
Nguyen Thanh was allowed by the Court of Appeal to bring in new evidence in the form of two police statements and oral evidence of three Vietnamese witnesses including Tran Tranh.
However, Tran Thanh who was serving an eight-year jail sentence in Vietnam for selling drugs chose not to come to Malaysia to testify.
In her defence, Nguyen Thanh claimed that she had picked up the bag (in which drugs were found) belonging to her friend Tran Tranh and she had no knowledge of the contents of the bag.
In mitigation for a lenient jail sentence, her counsel K. Simon Murali said Nguyen Thanh was an innocent victim who was manipulated by her friend and African boyfriend to act as drug mule.
He said his client has yet to see her daughter who was only one month old when she (Nguyen Thanh) was arrested in 2011.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Aslinda Ahad appeared for the prosecution. (Sources: Bernama, 28/03/2016)