Factory hand escapes gallows but jailed for drug possession

Factory hand escapes gallows but jailed for drug possession
Escaping the hangman: Karthi being escorted out of the High Court in George Town after he was acquitted of a drug trafficking charge. However, he pleaded guilty to drug possession and was jailed five years.

GEORGE TOWN, Malaysia - A 28-year-old factory worker escaped the gallows after a High Court here freed him of a drug trafficking charge.

G. Karthi, however, ended up being jailed five years for drug possession, when he pleaded guilty to the charge.

He was on trial for trafficking in 58.9gm of heroin and 34.7gm of monoacetylmorphine under Section 39B(2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, at a house in Machang Bubok, Bukit Merta­jam, at 1.10pm on Feb 13 last year.

He was also charged with possessing 0.4gm of heroin and 0.3gm of monoacetylmorphine under Section 12(2) of the Act at the same place and time.

Yesterday, Justice Zamani Abdul Rahim ruled that the prosecution only managed to prove a prima facie case against Karthi on the possession charge.

Zamani also said in his ruling yesterday that during a raid, police only found 0.4gm of heroin and 0.3gm of mono­acetylemorphine in Karthi's pocket, as well as 58.9gm of heroin and 34.7gm of mono­acetylmorphine in the storeroom at the house.

He said that although the prosecution proved that Karthi had knowledge of the drugs in the house, it was insufficient to presume possession.

"Evidence showed that the door of the storeroom, where the drugs were found, was ajar and, based on a wedding picture found in the house, there were three other people living in the house, whom the police could not trace," he added.

Zamani said two T-shirts found in a room contained the DNA of the accused and that of another unidentified person.

He then acquitted and discharged Karthi of the drug trafficking charge and ordered him to enter his defence on the possession charge, but Karthi chose to plead guilty.

In mitigation, defence counsel V.S. Kumar said the accused had learnt his lesson when he was under remand and promised to turn over a new leaf.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Muna Mohamed Jaafar said that although the drugs found in the accused's possession was a small amount, a deterrent sentence should be meted out to serve as a reminder and lesson to the public.

Zamani ordered Karthi to serve his jail sentence effective from the date of his arrest on Feb 13 last year.

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