Court of Appeal dismisses plea by mother of Malaysian drug trafficker on death row

SINGAPORE: The Court of Appeal on Tuesday (Apr 26) dismissed a last-minute plea by convicted Malaysian drug trafficker Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, who has been on death row for greater than a decade, and his mother.

Taking place sooner or later earlier than Nagaenthran’s scheduled execution, the listening to was convened after a felony movement was filed by Nagaenthran and his mother Mdm Panchalai Supermaniam on Monday.

In the movement, they sought a keep of execution arguing that it was unconstitutional to hold out the death sentence as a result of Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who presided over Nagaenthran’s earlier failed appeals, was additionally the Attorney-General throughout his conviction.

A panel of three judges comprising Justices Andrew Phang, Judith Prakash and Belinda Ang heard the felony movement on Tuesday.

Delivering the judgment on behalf of the panel, Justice Phang stated the Court of Appeal discovered the applying to be “devoid of merit”.

He added that it gave the impression to be a “calculated attempt” to decrease the finality of the courtroom course of.

“No court in the world would allow an applicant to prolong matters ad infinitum” by submitting such functions, stated the choose.

“There must come a time when the last word of the court is the last word.”

The case has attracted worldwide consideration. The courtroom’s public gallery was full, and several other members of the worldwide media have been current.


Earlier, Nagaenthran’s mother Mdm Panchalai addressed the courtroom herself via a Tamil interpreter. She informed the courtroom that she had arrived in Singapore from Malaysia final week.

Mdm Panchalai spoke briefly, telling the courtroom: “We want him back alive, your honour.” She stated her household was in “dire straits” and that the applying was to ask for time for them to get a lawyer.

Nagaenthran was sentenced to death in 2010 for importing 42.72g of heroin into Singapore in 2009 in a bundle strapped to his thigh.

He beforehand failed in his appeals to the High Court in 2011, to the Court of Appeal in 2019 and in his petition to the president for clemency.

At the tip of March, the Court of Appeal upheld the dismissal of his software to start judicial evaluation proceedings on the premise that he purportedly possesses the psychological age of somebody beneath 18.

Chief Justice Menon had described that enchantment as “a blatant and egregious abuse of the court’s processes”, which appeared to have the intention of “unjustifiably delaying” the execution.


Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Woon Kwong argued that Mdm Panchalai had no standing to be a celebration to the applying, and that it may solely be introduced by Nagaenthran himself.

On the substance of the movement, Mr Wong referred to as it “baseless” and stated that Nagaenthran beforehand didn’t object to Chief Justice Menon’s involvement regardless of figuring out that his tenure as Attorney-General had overlapped with Nagaenthran’s felony proceedings.

“It is dishonest for Nagaenthran to now take issue with the Chief Justice’s involvement in legal proceedings, yet conveniently omit the fact that he had confirmed, through his counsel and on legal advice, that he had no objections to Chief Justice Menon being on the coram,” stated Mr Wong.

The prosecutor added: “In any event, Chief Justice Menon was not involved in any of the decisions pertaining to Nagaenthran’s prosecution.”

Mr Wong additionally argued that the applying, which he stated had no benefit, was the newest in a sequence of “repeated drip-feeding to abuse the court’s process”.

He argued that Chief Justice Menon’s involvement was not raised earlier by Nagaenthran’s earlier legal professionals although one of them, Mr M Ravi, had thought-about this challenge.

This appeared to point out that the applying was “deliberately withheld” for this stage of proceedings, stated the prosecutor.


To that finish, Mr Wong requested the courtroom to compel Mdm Panchalai to reveal the identities of these concerned in drafting the movement paper and affidavit for the applying.

This would disallow these people from evading potential penalties, together with prices and sanctions, he stated.

The prosecutor stated it was “obvious” that the movement paper had been drafted on authorized recommendation, with Justice Phang additionally noting that it was “very much a legal document”.

According to the prosecution, Mdm Panchalai had alluded to the paperwork being ready with the assistance of “friends and social activists”.

“By masking the identity of the ‘friends and social activists’ who purportedly assisted Mdm Panchalai with this application, the bringers of this application seek to shield the persons who are participating in this gross abuse of process,” stated Mr Wong.

“The lawyers and persons responsible for abetting this application should not be allowed to hide under a veil of anonymity to evade the consequences that ought to normally follow in such abuses of the court’s processes.”

Under questioning from the judges, Mdm Panchalai stated that the authorized paperwork have been drafted by “family” and “friends of our relatives”.

She stated these buddies have been “educated” however not legally skilled, and that they have been additionally those who helped her to bodily file the applying.

Mr Wong moreover requested the courtroom to order that no additional functions shall be introduced by or on behalf of Nagaenthran with out the go away of the Court of Appeal.

“Nagaenthran has been afforded due course of below legislation. Yet, whether or not via the affect of exterior events or in any other case, Nagaenthran has continued to abuse the courtroom’s processes by but once more bringing one other meritless software which takes up beneficial courtroom assets.

“This must be stopped to stem the continued attacks on the fundamental administration of justice,” stated the prosecutor.

After the judgment was delivered, Nagaenthran requested to spend time along with his household, particularly in search of permission to “hold their hands”.

Mdm Panchalai informed the courtroom that the household would have been given a three-hour assembly with Nagaenthran in jail forward of his execution, if not for the listening to.

The judges granted Nagaenthran’s request for them to carry one another’s palms within the courtroom, and gave the household one other two hours to spend collectively within the Supreme Court constructing after that.

Court of Appeal dismisses plea by mother of Malaysian drug trafficker on death row

Davina Tham

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