Court of Appeal dismisses application by cannabis trafficker on death row

Court of Appeal dismisses application by cannabis trafficker on death row

SINGAPORE: The Court of Appeal has dismissed a bid by a cannabis trafficker on death row to have his case reviewed.

In a judgment released on Tuesday (May 16), Justice Tay Yong Kwang said the application was “clearly an impermissible attempt at reopening and rearguing the appeal” that Muhammad Faizal Mohd Shariff, 36, had already attempted.

Justice Tay said there was no new evidence that would satisfy the requirements of a review application.

Faizal was convicted in January 2019 by trial judge Chan Seng Onn of a charge of possessing cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.

He was arrested in February 2016 and found to have 3.5kg of vegetable matter, which contained 1.6kg of cannabis, for the purpose of trafficking.

It was not disputed that he collected four blocks of cannabis, that he referred to as “storybooks”, and brought them to an apartment where he cut and repacked one of the blocks into smaller portions.

He claimed he had possessed the cannabis to consume, and that only a small portion was meant for sale. However, he also testified that he had never smoked cannabis before and that it was for “future use” as he wanted to do it “bit by bit”.

The trial judge found that Faizal had possession and knowledge of all six blocks of cannabis involved. He had admitted in a statement that the cannabis was meant for sale, and dealt with the drugs in a manner consistent with someone intending to traffic in it, weighing one of the blocks and breaking it down into smaller portions before wrapping the portions.

Faizal was sentenced to the mandatory death penalty, and appealed against the High Court’s decision.

In August 2019, the Court of Appeal dismissed Faizal’s appeals.

On May 10 this year, the Singapore Prison Service informed Faizal’s family that the death sentence would be carried out on Faizal on May 17.

Faizal filed a new application on May 11, seeking a review of his case, hoping for a reduction to life imprisonment or a reduced charge to a non-capital offence. 

His counsel argued that there has been a change in the law and that additional evidence has come to light.

The prosecution filed submissions in response on May 15, saying Faizal had failed to raise sufficient material.

Justice Tay dismissed the application without setting it down for hearing.