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Ex-hotel worker freed from drug charge; schoolteacher sent to the gallows

9th August, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: A former hotel employee had his acquittal against a charge of possessing 63.40grams of cannabis two years ago affirmed by the Court of Appeal here yesterday.

Justice Dato’ Tengku Maimon Tuan Mat, who sat together with Justices Dato’ Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Yaacob Haji Md Sam unanimously made the decision on Elton George Junior Gaban, 36, after dismissing the prosecution’s appeal.

The prosecution was appealing to have Elton George called to enter his defence.

On November 30, 2016, Elton was discharged and acquitted from the charge by the Sessions Court here after the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against him.

The prosecution then appealed to the High Court here but was dismissed on March 10, 2017.

Elton who was represented by counsel Azhier Farhan Arisin was alleged to have possessed the cannabis at a cyber café in Kepayan Ridge here at 5pm on May 23, 2016.

The offence was framed under Section 39A (2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, carries imprisonment for life or for a term of not less than five years and also liable to whipping of not less than 10 strokes of the cane, upon conviction.

In a separate appeal, a private school teacher failed in her bid to escape the death sentence for trafficking in 959.5grams of syabu.

The same court dismissed an appeal by Suhailah Abdullah, 43, after, among others, ruling that the conviction is safe and therefore affirmed the High Court’s decision.

On June 23, 2017, Suhailah, who was represented by counsel Dato’ Seri Rakhbir Singh, was found guilty of trafficking in the drug on May 27, 2013 at 11.15am at the International Arrival Hall, Terminal Two of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport here.

The charge framed under Section 39B (1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act carries the mandatory death sentence, upon conviction.

Suhailah on March 17, 2015, was sentenced to 14 years’ jail after she pleaded guilty to an amended charge under Section 12(2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, punishable under Section 39A(2)® of the same Act.

The indictment provides for an imprisonment for life or not less than five years and whipping of not less than 10 strokes of the cane upon conviction.

However, on July 18, 2016, the Court of Appeal had allowed an appeal by the prosecution and ordered for Suhailah’s case to be remitted back to High Court for her to enter her defence on the original charge. – ECA

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