Bus driver escape whipping because he is facing death sentence

A bus driver, convicted for drug possession, escaped the mandatory whipping sentence because he is facing the death sentence for another drug case.

Datuk Suriyadi Halim Omar leading a three-man Court of Appeal panel, made the ruling today after adopting Section 289 (b) of the Criminal Procedure Code which exempted the execution of whipping sentence on males facing the death sentence.

Suriyadi, who sat on the panel with Justice Datuk Hasan Lah and Justice Datuk Ahmad Maarop, told Suzimi Shaari, 45, that he escaped the whipping sentence which was mandatory under the Dangerous Drug Act (DDA), by virtue of Section 289.

Section 39 (A) of the DDA imposes a minimum five years jail and maximum 20 years jail and a mandatory 10 strokes of the rotan on a person convicted for drug possession.

Earlier, the panel had unanimously dismissed Suzimi’s appeal against conviction and death sentence imposed on him by the Taiping High Court on March 31, 2007 on the first charge of trafficking in 4,877 grammes of cannabis.

He was found guilty of committing the offence at a car park in the Gunung Semanggol rest area at KM195.5 North-South Expressway, Semanggol, Perak at 10.15pm on Aug 2, 2001.

However, the panel reduced Suzimi’s second trafficking charge to possession and subsequently, sentenced him to 10 years jail when he pleaded guilty to the reduced charged.

Suriyadi ordered Suzimi to serve the sentence from the date of his arrest on Aug 2, 2001.

Suzimi was also found guilty and sentenced to death by the Taiping High Court for the second charge of trafficking in 263.2 grammes of cannabis at his house in Jalan Gula, Simpang Empat, Semanggol at 10.50pm on the same day.

Suzimi was represented by assigned counsel Bernard Francis while Fatnin Yusof prosecuted.