Criminal Law

Court upholds Death Sentence on Vietnamese Woman for Drug Trafficking

Date: 19 April 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: Bernama

PUTRAJAYA, Apr 19 (Bernama) - A Vietnamese woman has failed in her appeal to set aside the death sentence imposed on her for trafficking over 1.66kg of drugs at the Kuala Terengganu Airport, six years ago.

A three-man panel comprising Justices Datuk Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid, Datuk Stephen Chung Han Guan and Datuk Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal, by a 2-1 majority decision, dismissed the appeal of Tran Thi Tat, 36, against the death sentence meted out by the Kuala Terengganu High Court, Terengganu on March 27, 2017.

Justice Umi Kalthum, who presided over the appeal, said she and Justice Chung agreed to dismiss the woman’s appeal while Justice Harmindar Singh had a dissenting opinion.

Tran, a trader, was convicted for trafficking 1,669.8 grams of methamphetamine at the Domestic Arrival Hall, Sultan Mahmud Airport, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu at 9.30am on Nov 9, 2013.

The court made the decision after hearing the submissions from both parties - lawyer Ghazali Ismail, representing Tran and deputy public prosecutor Dhiya Syazwani Izyan Mohd Akhir appeared for the prosecution.

Ghazali, in his submission, said that the High Court Judge erred in finding his client guilty as she had no knowledge of the drugs in her bag.

He said his client had carried the bag from India as well during the transit at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport before arriving at the Kuala Terengganu airport.

“While in India, my client’s bag was damaged and her friend’s husband provided her with the new bag. My client did not check the bag but putting clothes in the new bag. Hence, my client didn’t have any knowledge of the drugs in the bag,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dhiya Syazwani Izyan argued that the judge was correct in his decision that the woman had knowledge of the drugs based on the testimony of the prosecution witness who saw the woman seemed hesitant and kept looking around while carrying the bag.

“The weight of the bag was not well balanced as she only brought four shirts and three pairs of pants,” she said, adding that the accused, in her defence, had said that she came to this country to find a job and a husband.

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