BY Fadley Faisal
THE High Court recently sentenced a man to 20 years’ imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane, for the charge of importing methylamphetamine under 50 grammes into the country.
Ardy bin Salleh initially claimed trial to a higher charge, which was then substituted to the current one which led him to immediately plead guilty.
Chief Justice Dato Paduka Steven Chong, who sat with Judge Muhammed Faisal bin Pehin Dato Haji Kefli, heard that Ardy arrived at the Sungai Tujoh Control Post from Miri on the night of May 29, 2014.
Customs examiners found nothing suspicious at first, but a second inspection by Narcotics Control Bureau officers led to the discovery of the drugs concealed in plastic bags inside the car engine’s air filter compartment.
The court also considered the delay of the case, which was brought about by the defendant discharging two previous counsels assigned to represent him under legal aid.
The defendant argued that he had the right to hire a counsel of his choice.
The court disagreed and said he is misguided as “an accused person is of course entitled to counsel of his choice if he is paying for one out of his own pocket (and) has no right to counsel of his choice at state expense”.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Hajah Suriana binti Haji Radin and Amiriah binti Haji Ali prosecuted the case.
Lawyer Sheikh Noordin bin Sheikh Mohammad represented the defendant.
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin