PUTRAJAYA, Aug 10 — An Iranian escaped the gallows when his charge of trafficking in methamphetamine was changed to possession of drugs today, leading to him being sentenced to 20 years’ jail and 10 strokes of the rotan.
A Court of Appeal three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk Yaacob Md Sam, P. Ravinthran and Datuk Nordin Hassan set aside Baladastian Hamid Mohammadebrahim’s conviction and death sentence for the first charge of trafficking in 1,146.9 grammes of methamphetamine.
The bench substituted Baladastian’s charge to one of possession.
Baladastian, 45, was ordered by the court to serve the jail term from September 14, 2014, the day he was arrested.
“We are of the view that the offence of possession has been proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt,” he said, adding that Baladastian’s conviction for trafficking was unsafe to be maintained.
The court, however, allowed Baladastian’s appeal for an acquittal and a discharge for the second and third charges of trafficking in 5,068.1 grammes and 75.06 grammes of methamphetamine in liquid form respectively.
On March 22, 2018, the Shah Alam High Court found Baladastian guilty of the three charges and sentenced him to death.
For the first charge, Baladastian committed the offence in front of a shop Cafe Reggae Connection in Jalan Cyber Valley, Dengkil, Sepang, Selangor at 1pm on September 14, 2014.
For the second and third charges, he was accused of committing the offences in an apartment in Domain 3, Neo Cyber, Cyberjaya, Sepang, Selangor at 1.45pm on the same day.
Baladastian’s counsel Salim Bashir Bhaskaran, who is also Malaysian Bar president, in mitigating for a minimal jail sentence, said his client was remorseful and apologised to the government of Malaysia.
He said Baladastian, who has been in prison for six years, would go back to his country and live a normal life after completing his jail sentence.
Deputy public prosecutor Nurshafini Mustafha pressed for a jail term of more than 18 years, taking into account the amount of the drugs. — Bernama