SINGAPORE: COURT OF APPEAL ACQUITS CONVICT ON DEATH ROW OF TWO CAPITAL DRUG CHARGES
April 6, 2020:
Singapore's Court of Appeal on 31 March 2020 acquitted a convicted drug trafficker on death row of two capital drug charges and sentenced him to eight years' jail instead for drug possession. (Sources: straitstimes.com, 04/04/2020)
Muhammad Nabill Mohd Fuad, 33, was convicted in the High Court in 2018 of two charges: the first, possessing 63.41g of heroin for trafficking and the other, possessing 2,251.9g of cannabis for trafficking.
In his appeal to the apex court, Nabill, defended by lawyers Andre Jumabhoy and Priscilla Chia, did not dispute that he possessed the heroin and knew what it was.
But the sole issue was whether he possessed the drug for trafficking, his lawyers argued.
On the second charge, Nabill claimed he did not know he had cannabis, neither did he intend to traffic in cannabis.
The Court of Appeal, in reviewing the proceedings, was troubled by the prosecutors' failure to disclose to the defence the statements of four people, all of whom were material witnesses who could have confirmed or contradicted Nabill's defence.
Also, the witnesses were not called to rebut his defence, if their accounts of the events supported the prosecution's case.
This was an issue of "central importance", said the court comprising Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Judges of Appeal Judith Prakash and Steven Chong.
The court set aside the first charge and convicted him on a reduced charge of drug possession, to which he admitted. It acquitted him of the second charge as his defence had rebutted the presumption of knowledge. And since knowledge had not been established, he could not be held guilty even of an offence of trafficking cannabis.