By K.C. VIJAYAN
Two men were spared the gallows yesterday, after the high Court found them not guilty of capital drug trafficking charges. However, a third man, involved in the same case, was sentenced to death.
Both Tamil Selvan, 41, and M. Balasubramaniam, 30, had been jointly tried with Azman Sanwan, 38, who was found guilty for the same offence of trafficking in 1,525.7g of cannabis.
When Azman was sentenced to death, his wife, who was in court with their two young children and other relatives, broke down and had to be helped.
Both Tamil and Bala were remanded to face several other lesser charges that were initially stood down. Each was offered bail of $50,000.
All three men were nabbed by Central narcotics Bureau officers in a sting operation on April 30 2007 at a carpark in front of Block 108, Yishun Ring Road.
Azman was seen tranferring a blue paper bag from the back of a black Honda Civic to the boot of a blue Mitsubishi Lancer parked alongside. He was earlier seen carrying the same paper bag from the Lancer to the back of the Honda. When the officers moved in, they found a wrapped bundle containing two blocks of vegetable matter inside the paper bag. The vegetable blocks were found to contain cannabis.
Azman, defended by lawyer Sunil Sudheesan, admitted that he had brought in drugs a few times before but said that on those previous occasions, they were not big deliveries. He claimed not to know how the drugs got into his car.
Bala and Tamil were at the back of the Honda car trying to separate the exhaust pipe from the bumper, at the time of the incident, as it was seen to be emitting fumes and was out of position. Both, defended by lawyer Ramesh Tiwary, claimed they had no knowledge there was cannabis in either car.
In the grounds for his judgement, Justice Kan Ting Chiu said Azman did not offer any "consistent explanation" for the presence of the blue paper bag found in the boot of the car and there was an "abundance of evidence" against him.
Tamil, on the other hand was not accused of having handled the bundles containing the drugs. It was also not proved that Bala actually or presumably knew the bundles contained cannabis.
There was nothing to show that all three had a common intention to traffic in the drugs, added Justice Kan in the 54-page judgment, delivered a year after the hearings.
Source: The Straits Times, July 10 2010