CHIANGRAI TIMES – A Thai woman escaped the gallows after the Federal Court in Malaysia Wednesday, allowing her appeal to set aside her conviction and death sentence for trafficking in 865.8gm of cannabis nine years ago.
Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, chairing a five-man panel, however, sentenced her to 15 years’ jail after ruling that the prosecution have proven beyond reasonable doubt the case against her for possession of the drug.
Rosmawati Che Ngah, 34, from Sungai Golok, South Thailand, has eight months more to serve her jail sentence and is expected to be released from prison in January next year as the sentence is to be served from the day of her arrest on Jan 31, 2003.
Justice Malanjum said the court found that her conviction for drug trafficking was unsafe as there was a doubt with regard to her knowledge of the drug which was solely based on her conduct.
He also said the prosecution’s failure not to offer a material witness, a Thai national Dak Sak Che Moh, to the defence as a witness was fatal to the case. Dak Sak was a suspect and was arrested together with Rosmawati.
Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong, Datuk Suriyadi Halim Omar, Datuk Hasan Lah and Datin Paduka Zaleha Zahari were the other judges sitting on the panel.
Rosmawati, a fruit seller, was charged with committing the offence in front of Bank Pertanian Machang at about 12.15pm on Jan 31, 2003. The drug was found in a sling bag she was carrying.
The High Court, on Jan 16, 2006, amended the original charge of trafficking to possessing the drug, at the end of the prosecution case where she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 years’ jail from the day of arrest.
On March 30 2009, the Appeals Court reversed the decision after allowing the prosecution’s appeal for her case to be remitted back to the Kota Baru High Court for her to enter her defence.
On Aug 20, 2009, she was found guilty for drug trafficking and sentenced to death by the Kota Bahu High Court, which was subsequently affirmed by the Appeals Court on May 11, 2011.
She was represented by lawyer Karpal Singh, while deputy public prosecutors Ahmad Bache and P.G. Cyril prosecuted. – Bernama