In what was believed to be the first of its kind in Singapore, a Malaysian on death row managed to bring his case back to the High Court again on Friday [12 September 03] despite having his plea for clemency from the President rejected.
Under Singapore laws, the final right to stay a death sentence usually lies exclusively with the President.
Justice Woo Bih Li rejected 22-year-old Vignes Mourthi's appeal and said that it was not within the Court's jurisdiction to rehear the case and that an "adjournment will serve no purpose".
Mourthi, 22, a machine operator in Singapore, had been sentenced to death after he gave 27.65g of heroin to an undercover police officer in September 2001.
He appealed against the death sentence but was rejected by the Court of Appeal last year and a petition for clemency by President SR Nathan was also rejected this month.
Mourthi's father, Mr Mourthi Vasu, sought help from veteran opposition leader and former lawyer Mr JB Jeyaret-nam, who in turn asked lawyer Mr M Ravi to represent Mourthi in the trial.
In a statement to the court, Mr Jeyaretnam said evidence given by a police officer that allegedly recorded a conversation between the accused and himself bore no date and could have been written later.
Court documents recorded Mourthi's claims of innocence, with him telling Central Narcotic Bureau officers that he was delivering what he thought were "incense stones" in return for $8,000.
At Mr Ravi's office at North Buona Vista Road on Friday, Mr Vasu said: "My son did not know that he was carrying heroin and thought that it was incense for the temple." Mr Ravi said he would lodge another appeal on his client's behalf.
Sources and Relevant Links:
13 September 2003, Today COURT DISMISSES DEATH-ROW APPEAL Last-ditch attempt for stay of execution of drug trafficker fails
Think Centre: Singapore: Indian migrant worker facing execution
Think Centre: Sixty 'Cities for Life' Light Up Against Death Penalty
Think Centre: Death Penalty Case Gets an Airing in Parliament