Today, a couple sentenced to death three years ago for trafficking marijuana were exempted from the death penalty.
Their lawyers told a three-member Court of Appeal bench, headed by judge Hanipah Farikullah, that a joint representation made to the Attorney-General’s Chambers last month had been acknowledged.
The prosecution affirmed this, but the specifics of the representation were not disclosed in court.
Hanipah then released K Kavitha, 42, after sitting with judges Ahmad Nasfy Yasin and Nordin Hasan. Her husband, S Jagatheson, 44, was charged with possession and sentenced to 15 years in prison with ten strokes of the rotan.
In mitigation, Jagatheson’s lawyer, P Thaneswaran, stated that his client had already sustained enough by being isolated from his two young children, whereas lawyer R Subash represented Kavitha.
On April 19, 2016, the couple was charged with trafficking 4,966.6 grammes of weed at a residence in Pangsa Pulai Utama, Johor Bahru.
On March 18, 2019, the High Court sentenced them to death upon finding that the pair was guilty of the charge.
Some have speculated that the sudden turn of events may be owing to the recent dismissal of the mandatory death penalty announced by the government earlier this month.
At the time, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob explained that the death penalty will remain and not be abolished.
However, the judges will be given discretion in sentencing- ultimately deciding the fate of felons convicted of serious crimes.
This includes Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, under which the couple was charged.
Additionally, the government has been seeking ways to research the medical uses of marijuana in order to reinstate laws for those who utilise the drug as a means of alleviation and therapy.
Muar MP Syed Saddiq headed the initiative, while health minister Khairy Jamaluddin urged the public to present research-based evidence to the authorities to portray and explain the benefits of the drug.
The cultivation of hemp was also authorised by the Cabinet in late April.