The Singapore Court of Appeal on Tuesday dismissed a legal challenge filed by the mother of a Malaysian drug dealer of Indian origin as an eleventh-hour attempt to stop the hanging of her son scheduled at the country’s Changi prison on Wednesday.
Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam was convicted in 2010 at the age of 18 for importing 42.72g of heroin in 2009. He was arrested at the Woodlands Checkpoint (embankment connection with Peninsular Malaysia) while entering Singapore, with a package of drugs tied to his thigh.
Under Singapore law, which is very strict against people violating anti-drug laws, the Drug Abuse Act provides for the death penalty where the amount of heroin smuggled is more than 15g.
The mother of Dharmalingam, who is now 34, has appealed against the High Court’s decision dismissing her application to start judicial review proceedings on the basis that she allegedly possesses the mental age of a person under 18 years.
The Malaysian has also made a criminal motion to be evaluated by an independent psychiatric panel, with a temporary suspension of execution.
Following the conviction, Dharmalingam has spent all his legal actions.
On Tuesday, after his mother’s application was rejected, the court gave Dharmalingam two hours to spend time with his family members and hold hands, according to a Straits Times newspaper report.
The mother, who is here from Malaysia, had her application rejected at the last minute by a three -judge Court of Appeal, comprising Justices Andrew Phang, Judith Prakash and Belinda Ang, the report said.
The trial comes almost a month after a five-judge Court of Appeal, headed by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, on March 29 rejected Dharmalingam’s last-ditch effort to challenge his death sentence, describing it as a blatant and brutal abuse of court process.
Earlier on Tuesday, in front of a crowded courtroom, the mother, Mrs Panchalai Supermaniam, told the court through a Tamil interpreter: “I want my son back alive, Your Honor.” He said that he needed time to get a lawyer.
A court paper filed on behalf of mother and son on Monday (April 25) argued that Chief Justice Menon, while presiding over the appeal, had “fundamentally violated” Dharmalinga’s constitutional right to a fair trial, and this raised “reasonable concerns. biased”.
This argument is based on the fact that Chief Justice Menon was the Attorney General who was serving when Dharmalingam was convicted and his sentence was upheld during the appeal.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Woon Kwong said the argument was unfounded and easily set aside the fact that Dharmalingam and his lawyers had previously had no objection to Chief Justice Menon leading the case.
Prosecutors said Chief Justice Menon’s tenure as Attorney -General had specifically been brought to Dharmalingam’s attention, but the prisoner confirmed through his lawyer that he had no objections.
DPP Wong added that Chief Justice Menon was not involved in any decision related to the prosecution of Dharmalingam.
On March 1, his lawyers argued that Dharmalingam was “incompetent” to be sentenced to death, claiming he was mentally handicapped.
On March 29, a five -judge court said there was no admissible evidence showing any decline in Dharmalingam’s mental state.
The only evidence offered by Dharmalingam’s former lawyer, M Ravi was a “self-serving” affidavit in which he speculated that the prisoner had the same mental age as someone under the age of 18.
Dharmalingam’s lawyers have also objected to psychiatric and medical reports on the prisoner’s scheduled examinations – conducted on Aug 5 and November 3 last year – from being accepted as evidence.
The court said the lawyer’s objection supported the conclusion that Dharmalingam was trying to prevent the court from accessing the evidence because he knew or believed it would affect his case.
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