Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Malaysia: Death Penalty News (16-17 February 2009)


Johor Baru

16 February 2009

Taxi driver sentenced to death for drug trafficking

A part time taxi driver was sentenced to death by a High Court after he was found guilty of trafficking drugs.

Romi Amora Amir, 38, from Larkin Jaya, had been charged on Aug 5 in 2005 with trafficking in 466.4g of cannabis on July 24, 2005 at around 4.20am in front of Kedai Wah Seng and Cold Storage along Jalan Tebrau in Kim Teng Park.

Romi Amora also faced a separate charge of possessing 0.7g of cannabis.

During the trial, the prosecution told the court that police had found the 466.g of drugs under the driver’s seat of the taxi Romi Amora had been driving.

Deputy public prosecutor Laila Lateh also told the court that police had found the 0.7g of cannabis in Romi Amoras right side pant pocket upon inspection.

Romi Amora, who was represented by defence counsel Sukhaimi Mashud denied both charges and claimed he had no knowledge of the drugs found in the taxi.

He told the court that the drugs could have been left in the taxi by four passengers he had carried just prior to being arrested by the police.

Romi Amora also said that the taxi was borrowed from his friend, and that it was possible that his friend’s wife, who owned the taxi, had placed the drugs there.

The accused also denied that any drugs had been found in his pocket and claimed that the police had actually found all the drugs only in the taxi.

In his mitigation, Romi Amora pleaded to the court for mercy and said that he had three children and that his father had passed away.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh ruled that the defence had failed to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.

He said that it was not reasonable to believe that a wife would plant drugs in the taxi to get her husband in trouble, as alleged by the suspect.

He also pointed out that in the trial, it had been established that the couple had a good relationship and that it was illogical for the passengers to leave drugs with a high street value in a stranger’s taxi.

On the drugs found in the suspects pant pocket, Mohd Zawawi ruled that the police had no motive to create the story.

(Source: Star - Malaysia)


17 February 2009

Death Row duo want to get it over quickly

Two men on Death Row declared yesterday they would not be seeking clemency from the Pardons Board.

Debt collector G. Krishna Rao and brother-in-law, ex-cop M. Rajendran, said the 10-year appeal process had taken its toll on them and they preferred to be hanged soon.

They said this moments after the Federal Court reaffirmed the death sentence on the two men for the murder of four people in Ipoh 11 years ago.

"The long wait has affected me, my family and other relatives," Krishna Rao, 39, told the New Straits Times.

Rajendran, 43, said being on Death Row had sapped him mentally and emotionally.

"I cannot bear living in solitary confinement anymore," he said.

Rajendran was married to Krishna Rao's sister.

Lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who appeared for Rajendran, and Ahmad Nizam Mohamed, who represented Krishna Rao, said they would meet their clients in Kajang prison in a day or two to take instructions.

The lawyers could make representation to the board to consider commuting their clients' death penalty to jail sentences.

Krishna Rao, Rajendran and goldsmith K. Kumaresan, then 24, were jointly charged with the murders of S. Veeramah, 48, her son N. Sathian, 15, and Indonesian maid Juriyah @ Sariyah, 35.

The offences were committed at a house in Taman Seri Dermawan, Bercham, between 6.30pm on March 12, 1998 and 11.45pm the following day.

They were also charged with the murder of part-time watchman M. Balakrishnan 52, at Malligah Jewellers in Jalan Lahat, during the same date and time frame in March 1998.

Kumaresan was acquitted without his defence being called.

In August 1999, High Court Judge Datuk Kang Hwee Ghee sentenced Krishna Rao to death after he opted to remain silent. Rajendran received the same sentence after giving evidence under oath.

In Jan 2007, the Court of Appeal dismissed their appeals.

Yesterday, Federal Court judge Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, who delivered the unanimous ruling, said there was no miscarriage of justice in the concurrent finding of facts by the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Malanjum, who sat with Datuk Nik Hashim Nik Abdul Rahman and Datuk Hashim Yusof, said evidence by a consultant forensic pathologist revealed the four were murdered in a brutal manner as they suffered multiple stab wounds.

Malanjum said the trial judge was correct in admitting as evidence the information by Krishna Rao which lead to the discovery of Balakrishnan's body and that of Rajendran, who hid the stolen jewellery in Ulu Kinta.

He said the prosecution had proved that the two had common intention to commit the crimes.

(Source: New Straits Times - Malaysia)

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