Malaysia has set aside the death sentence handed down to a Bangladeshi engineering student for trafficking 3.8 kg of cannabis in 2017 due to an 'error' by the trial judge, reports bdnews24.com citing Malaysian newspaper The Star.
The student was identified as Md Habibul Hassan Khan, 26, who studied in a private university in Malaysia and lived in a hostel room.
The three-member panel of the Court of Appeal ruled that there was merit in the appeal by Habibul and held the prosecution had failed to prove the element of knowledge in the case, Malaysian newspaper The Star reports.
Although a bag containing cannabis was found in his room, Habibul in his defence said the bag belonged to another student named Jawad, the judges said in the verdict.
"This student (Jawad), who stayed outside the university, committed suicide a day after the appellant was caught with the bag.
"The trial judge did not accept this evidence and merely brushed it aside as bare denial and afterthought," said Justice Datuk Hanipah Farikullah.
The trial judge had committed an “error in fact and law” because the appellant's confession to his hostel warden Shazereen Kamaruddin could not be accepted as the judge did not ask the right questions, she added.
Habibul had appealed against the decision of the Shah Alam High Court in April 2019, after he was found guilty of trafficking drugs in his hostel room at the university in Semenyih, according to The Star.
He was charged under Section 39B(1) (a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 which carries a mandatory death penalty upon conviction.
Earlier, counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who was assisted by Datuk N Sivananthan and Nabila Habib, submitted that Shazereen's evidence in the confession was not corroborated by other prosecution witnesses.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nurul Farhana Khalid submitted overwhelming evidence that Mohammad Habibul had custody, control and knowledge of the drugs that were given by Jawad, according to The Star.