[Deathpenalty]death penalty news --- worldwide
j_sommer at gmx.net
Tue Jul 27 15:47:14 CDT 2004
death penalty news
July 27, 2004
SINGAPORE / AUSTRALIA:
Singapore court defers judgment in Australian death penalty case
Singapore's appeals court reserved judgment Monday in a death-penalty case
against an Australian convicted of smuggling heroin, saying it wants more
time to look at evidence - especially why the drugs had different weights
when tested by policeand a lab.
The decision by the three-judge panel to defer judgment against Nguyen
Tuong Van - who faces the gallows if his appeal fails and the president
doesn't grant clemency - means legal proceedings will be extended days or
weeks in a case that dates from December 2002.
Chief Justice Yong Pung How told the court that the discrepancy in drug
weight "has never happened before" in such a case.
"Admittedly it is only a marginal difference, but we have to be very
careful," Yong said.
Nguyen, 23, a salesman from Melbourne, was arrested Dec. 12, 2002 at Changi
International Airport in transit between Cambodia to Australia. During a
routine passenger search, officers found Nguyen was carrying two packets of
heroin, one taped to his back and a second in his bag.
Singapore has some of Asia's toughest anti-drug laws, like a mandatory
death penalty for anyone convicted of possessing more than 15 grammes (0.53
ounces) of pure heroin.
When weighed at the airport, Nguyen's two packets weighed 381.66 grammes
(13.46 ounces) and 380.36 grammes (13.42 ounces), according to the written
judgment of Judge Kan Ting Chui, who heard Nguyen's case.
But when weighed later at a lab, the packets weighed 361.64 grammes (12.76
ounces) and 370.94 grams (13.08 ounces) respectively, according to the same
written judgment, dated March 20, 2004.
"We will wait and see what happens," Lex Lasry, Nguyen's Australian
attorney, said outside the courtroom.
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