2 drug traffickers get death sentence
A third convict, found to be a courier, receives life sentence and 15 strokes of the cane
A drug trafficker convicted of a capital offence was sentenced to death in the High Court, although he had been certified by the Public Prosecutor to have cooperated with the authorities.
In the first such case here, the court found that Hamzah Ibrahim, 54, was not a courier, after a joint 16-day trial with two other traffickers.
Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, the court has the discretion not to impose the death penalty, if the convicted offender is a courier and has also been issued a certificate stating he cooperated with authorities.
But Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng ruled that Hamzah's role "went beyond that of a courier".
"Hence, although the PP (Public Prosecutor) issued a certificate of substantive assistance, the alternative sentencing regime was not available," she said in judgment grounds last week.
Another man in the joint trial for trafficking in 26.29g of heroin, Muhammad Farid Sudi, had also been certified to have "substantively assisted the Central Narcotics Bureau in disrupting drug trafficking activities".
Farid, who delivered the drugs to Hamzah and acted as no more than a courier, escaped the gallows with the mandatory life sentence and 15 strokes of the cane.
Another accomplice, Tika Pesik, had not been certified as a courier and was sentenced to death.
Farid and Tika had arranged for Farid to deliver two packets of heroin to Hamzah on Dec 20, 2013.
Farid did so during a drive from a Senja Road multi-storey car park to Dairy Farm Road.
Hamzah claimed trial to a single capital charge of possessing heroin for the purpose of trafficking.
During the trial, Deputy Public Prosecutors Wong Woon Kwong and Sarah Shi argued that Hamzah was not a courier and had received the drugs intending to pack them into smaller packets for sale.
Hamzah, defended by lawyers Luke Lee and Sukdave Singh, contended that he was merely a courier.
But, in light of all the evidence, such a claim would be "unsustainable", noted Judicial Commissioner Hoo.
"It was evident that Hamzah's purpose after taking delivery of the drugs was to sell the drugs," she said, noting that he had brought along smaller empty plastic packets to repack and sell the drugs.
The judge also found that Tika could "not in any way be described as a courier", as she had coordinated the supply of drugs and had got Farid to deliver the drugs to Hamzah, among other things.
"Moreover, the PP did not issue Tika with a certificate of substantive assistance," added the judge in imposing the mandatory death sentence.