GEORGE TOWN - A van driver who was jailed 16 months and fined RM50,000 (S$18,600) for smuggling four migrants by a Sessions Court in Butterworth walked out a free man after a High Court here set aside the sentence and conviction.
Judicial Commissioner Azmi Ariffin, in freeing Johari Abdullah yesterday after allowing his appeal, ruled that the charge against the accused could not stand because there were a lot of misdirections and serious errors by the Butterworth Sessions Court.
He said that, among others, the four migrants were not called by the prosecution to testify in court.
Azmi said another major error was the wrong burden of proof put by the Sessions Court on the defence.
He said the burden put on the defence to prove its case was too high when the defence was only required to cast a reasonable doubt.
The Sessions Court had, on July 14 last year, found Johari guilty after ruling that the defence had failed to raise any reasonable doubt on the prosecution's case.
Johari, 53, had been charged with transporting four smuggled Pakistani nationals, aged between 21 and 42, in a car at the Sungai Dua toll plaza in north Seberang Prai between 8pm and midnight on July 13, 2012.