A Nigerian national, Jonas Chihurumanya, has escaped the gallows after the highest court in the land set aside his conviction and death sentence for drug trafficking in Malaysia.
Jonas was arrested for allegedly trafficking 158.3g of methamphetamine in a car park at Jalan Canna at about 12.05am on June 7, 2016.
He was charged under Section 39B (1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) 1952 and punishable under Section 39B(2) of the same Act, which carries a death sentence or imprisonment for life and with whipping, upon conviction.
He was found guilty and sentenced to death on January 30, 2018, by the Kuching High Court.
His counsel appealed the High Court’s decision to the Court of Appeal but was dismissed on October 23, 2019.
Jonas subsequently appealed to the Federal Court, the apex court in Malaysia.
The Federal Court found that the circumstantial evidence did not irresistibly point towards Chihurumnanya having knowledge of the alleged drugs in the boot of the car he was driving.
In the absence of knowledge, the panel held that the element of possession as required under the law was not established by the prosecution. He was Acquitted on November 11, 2021.
The Federal Court also held that there was a serious misdirection by the trial judge in invoking the statutory presumption under Section 37(da) of the Dangerous Drugs Act and at the same time relying upon Section 2 of the same Act to prove the element of trafficking, which prejudiced the appellant in terms of the burden of proof placed on him.