Court dismisses last-ditch application in case of Malaysian drug trafficker on death row

SINGAPORE: A High Court decide has dismissed a last-ditch courtroom application in opposition to the death sentence of a Malaysian drug trafficker.

Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, 33, has been on death row for about 11 years for importing 42.72g of heroin into Singapore in 2009 in a bundle strapped to his thigh. 

In November 2010, he was sentenced to death. Nagaenthran failed in his appeals to the High Court in 2011 and the Apex Court in 2019, the place a courtroom of 5 judges together with the Chief Justice dismissed his purposes. His subsequent petition to the President for clemency was unsuccessful.

On Monday (Nov 8), lawyer M Ravi filed a courtroom application earlier than Justice See Kee Oon, which was heard in chambers and with out entry to the media.

Mr Ravi’s application in relation to Nagaenthran’s impending death sentence hinged on the factual rivalry that Nagaenthran purportedly possesses the psychological age of somebody under 18, Justice See mentioned in his oral remarks issued on Monday night.

The lawyer argued that judicial mercy must be exercised to grant Nagaenthran a reprieve from the execution of the death sentence, pending additional psychiatric examinations and stories on his psychological state.

Justice See famous that it was not disputed that Nagaenthran was assessed to have an IQ of 69. However, he was discovered by the trial decide to not be affected by any diploma of mental incapacity, regardless that it was accepted that he had borderline mental functioning.

Justice See identified that “there is no credible basis” for Mr Ravi’s assertions for Nagaenthran’s psychological age.

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“Mr Ravi has only met the plaintiff once in the last three years, for a mere 26 minutes in all from 9.20am to 9.46am on Nov 2, 2021,” he mentioned.

He added that there was “no legal basis” for the argument that customary worldwide legislation ought to take priority over home legislation.

“The plaintiff has also not shown any legal or evidential basis to support his submission that mental age should be reassessed after the time of commission of the offence,” mentioned Justice See.

“He has not shown an arguable prima facie case demonstrating that his current mental state is any different compared to his mental state at the time of commission of the offence.”

The decide mentioned Nagaenthran had his sentence affirmed by the Court of Appeal, and that his try to hunt re-sentencing was additionally dismissed by the identical courtroom.

“I reiterate that the plaintiff has been accorded due process in accordance with the law. It is not open to him to challenge the court’s findings pertaining to his mental responsibility, whether directly or indirectly, in yet another attempt to revisit and unravel the finality of those findings,” added Justice See.

Lawyer M Ravi mentioned in a Facebook submit after the listening to that Nagaenthran’s hanging has been stayed, pending an attraction he intends to make in opposition to Justice See’s resolution.


Nagaenthran was set to hold on Wednesday. An online petition in opposition to his death penalty has drawn greater than 60,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon.

The petition mentioned Nagaenthran was an “intellectually disabled” man who dedicated “a non-violent crime” by means of coercion. The case drew world information protection from retailers together with CNN, The Guardian and The Washington Post.

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The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) subsequently issued statements in response, saying that quantity of heroin Nagaenthran was caught trafficking was sufficient to feed the dependancy of about 510 abusers for every week.

MHA mentioned the High Court held in 2011 that Nagaenthran knew what he was doing, and upheld the death sentence after assessing the proof of psychiatrists, together with one known as by the defence. The defence’s psychiatrist had agreed that Nagaenthran was not intellectually disabled.

In the 2019 Court of Appeal judgement, the courtroom famous that Nagaenthran had been referred in 2013 to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for a forensic psychiatric analysis, in order to evaluate if he was affected by an abnormality of the thoughts and due to this fact appropriate for resentencing beneath the 2012 amendments.

The IMH report discovered that Nagaenthran had no psychological sickness on the time of the offence and was not clinically mentally retarded. However, his borderline vary of intelligence may need made him more vulnerable to believing a person’s purported menace to kill his girlfriend.

“The Court of Appeal affirmed the High Court’s decision and said that it was satisfied that Nagaenthran clearly understood the nature of his acts,” mentioned MHA.

This concerned making an attempt to hide the drug bundle by strapping it to his thigh and carrying a big pair of trousers over it as he knew it was unlawful for him to move medication.

He had dedicated the crime to repay his money owed, and hoped to obtain an extra sum of cash upon profitable supply, MHA mentioned.

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