Two men convicted of drug trafficking escape gallows

One of the men, Herman Basri, was discharged and acquitted by the Federal Court of trafficking in 872g of cannabis. — Reuters pic
One of the men, Herman Basri, was discharged and acquitted by the Federal Court of trafficking in 872g of cannabis. — Reuters pic

PUTRAJAYA, March 19 — A Romanian national was one of two men who escaped the gallows today for drug trafficking.   

The foreigner, Laurentiu Marian Peity, 32, had his charge for trafficking in 3,218.7g of methamphetamine reduced to possession, while unemployed Herman Basri was discharged and acquitted by the Federal Court of trafficking in 872g of ganja (cannabis).

A five-man panel led by Justice Tan Sri Ramly Ali sentenced Peity to 18 years’ jail and 10 strokes of the cane and ordered him to serve his sentence from October 12, 2011, the date of his arrest. He has been in custody for seven years and four months.

His counsel Datuk N. Sivananthan informed the court that the attorney general accepted their representation to set aside Peity’s conviction for drug trafficking, substituting the charge with possession. Deputy public prosecutor Hanim Mohd Rashid confirmed it.

Sivananthan requested the court to give mercy to Peity whom he said was in an orphanage since he was four years old until the age of 15.

Referring to a psychological report, he said Peity suffered from “behavioural/personality alteration”, the result of a car accident which caused him to be easily influenced.

The Romanian was convicted and sentenced to death by the High Court in 2016 for trafficking in methamphetamine at the Customs Inspection Area, Level 3, Main Terminal Building, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on October 12, 2011.

His appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 2017.

Meanwhile, Herman, 38, gets a new lease of life for the second time when another Federal Court five-man panel, also led by Justice Ramly, restored his acquittal.

“You are discharged and acquitted. The prosecution’s case is not strong. You’re freed,” Justice Ramly told Herman who was incarcerated for one and a half years while awaiting his appeal today.

Herman was initially discharged and acquitted by the High Court in 2016 for trafficking in ganja in front of a restaurant in Jalan Rampai Niaga, Setapak Jaya, Wangsa Maju on February 11, 2014.

On March 1, 2017, Herman’s freedom was short-lived when the Court of Appeal allowed the prosecution’s appeal, overturning his acquittal and sentenced him to hang.

His counsel Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali argued that the prosecution did not call a person named “Basiron” who was arrested earlier at the same place to challenge the defence’s contention that the drug belonged to “Basiron” and not Herman. — Bernama

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