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Santan Seller Given Death Sentence For Peddling 208G Of Cannabis At A Food Court In Penang

The 48-year-old accused committed the offence more than two years ago.

Cover image via Foursquare & Danial Saad/New Straits Times

A High Court here has sentenced a 48-year-old Penangite to death for peddling 208g of cannabis at a food court in Bukit Mertajam, Penang

According to Judicial Commissioner Mohd Radzi Abdul Hamid at the George Town High Court, the accused failed to fulfil the needs that could have allowed the court to impose the sentence of imprisonment for life.

"The court has no other choice but to impose the death sentence," Judicial Commissioner Mohd Radzi said prior to handing down the sentence, according to a report in New Straits Times yesterday, 30 September.

The 48-year-old man, identified as coconut milk seller R Siva Raman, was found guilty under Section 39B (1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, punishable under Section 39B(2) of the same act.

As per Section 39B (1)(a), "no person shall, on his own behalf or on behalf of any other person, whether or not such other person is in Malaysia, traffic in a dangerous drug".

As per Section 39B(2), "any person who contravenes any of the provisions of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence against this Act and shall be punished on conviction with death".

Siva Raman being escorted by police officers on Wednesday, 30 September.

Image via Danial Saad/New Straits Times

Siva Raman committed the offence more than two years ago

The 48-year-old was charged with trafficking 208g of cannabis in front of the Fresh Food Court at Jalan Rozhan Alma in Bukit Mertajam about 8.15pm on Tuesday, 16 January 2018.

Cannabis — which is also known as marijuana — is illegal in Malaysia. It is, however, available on the streets, where 10g cost about RM100. Based on which, the approximate street value of 208g of cannabis the accused was caught dealing in 2018 comes at around RM2,000.

Image via Foursquare

According to Judicial Commissioner Radzi, the prosecution succeeded in proving beyond reasonable doubt against the accused's defence

Radzi said the accused had failed to raise doubt that he had actual possession of the drugs.

"The accused lied in his sworn evidence, which made him a non-credible witness," he added.

When Radzi asked both the prosecution and defence to submit on the possibility of life imprisonment rather than the death penalty, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Lim Saw Sim asked for a death sentence.

According to the DPP, life imprisonment is only reserved for when a convicted person helps law enforcement agencies in "disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Malaysia".

"In this matter, there was no evidence that the accused had assisted the police or any enforcement agencies to disrupt the drug trafficking activities," she said.

A couple of years ago, there was public outrage over a death penalty handed to another Malaysian for distributing cannabis oil:

Earlier this year, a man in Kedah was arrested for growing cannabis plants right outside of his home:

Meanwhile, a Sabahan woman working in a controlled lab overseeing the growth of medicinal marijuana in the United States believes that Malaysia should take note of its well-regulated system:

Malaysia's drug law allows and criminalises marijuana at the same time: