PUTRAJAYA, March 9 (Bernama) -- A Ugandan woman escaped the gallows after the Federal Court here today substituted her charge of trafficking in 1079.4 grammes of Methamphetamine to possession of the drug.
A five-man bench led by Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Mohd Zawawi Salleh sentenced Hadijah Nakamya to 17 years jail for drug possession, to run from her date of arrest on March 5, 2014.
"We are satisfied that the prosecution has proven the offence of possession," he (Mohd Zawawi) said.
However, he said in light of the Federal Court's decision in Alma Nudo Atenza v the Pendakwa Raya case on double presumption, the court was of the opinion that Nakamya's case warranted the appellate court's intervention.
Justice Mohd Zawawi said it was a fit and proper case for the court to reduce the charge from drug trafficking to possession.
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He, then set aside the Court of Appeal's decision which convicted and sentenced Nakamnya, 36, to death for trafficking in the drugs by the road side near a house in Pusat Bandar Putra Permai, Selangor at 2.30 pm on March 5, 2014.
The mother of three children who came to Malaysia to work at a beauty saloon (Nakamya) was initially discharged and acquitted by the High Court on Dec 15, 2017 but her acquittal was overturned by the Court of Appeal, on Feb 13, last year on appeal by the prosecution. She subsequently file an appeal to the Federal Court.
In April last year, the Federal Court nine-man bench struck down a provision in the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 (DDA) which allows the use of “double presumptions” to secure the conviction of those accused of drug trafficking.
As a result, Filipino Alma Nudo Atenza and Thai citizen Orathai Prommatat escaped the gallows and they were instead given 18 years jail and 15 years jail sentences respectively after their drug trafficking charges were reduced to possession.
In Nakamya's case, the High Court had invoked the presumption of possession under section 37(d) of the DDA and he had also invoked the presumption of trafficking under section 37 (da) of the DDA.
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Nakamya's counsel Wan Azwan Aiman Wan Fakhruddin pleaded the court to impose a minimum jail sentence on Nakamya saying that her three children were taken care by her 76-year-old mother in the Republic of Uganda.
He said Nakamya has been in detention for six years since her arrest. Also representing Nakamya was lawyer Tania Scivetti.
Deputy public prosecutor Nahra Dollah argued that drug possession was a serious offence and suggested a jail term of between 15 years to 17 years.
TAG: Uganda, drug, trafficking, Hadijah Nakamya, possession