High Court turns down prisoner’s ill health appeal

Fadley Faisal

The High Court turned down a prisoner’s appeal against his sentence yesterday, saying that it is in no way inappropriate and that his ill health is not a strong reason to consider
the application.

Ibrahim bin Besar informed the court during the application that he contracted tuberculosis.
He was ordered to settle a fine of BND930,000, or serve three years’ imprisonment in default of payment for the possession of 35 boxes containing 230,000 smuggled cigarettes in his car on October 23, 2019 in Kampong Mentiri.

Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong said the fine imposed is slightly above the mandatory minimum and that the three-year default sentence justifies the failure to pay the fine amount.

The court also took into account an aggravating factor of the case where, at the time of the incident, Ibrahim endangered the customs officers who signalled him to stop by suddenly accelerating and colliding into a customs vehicle in an attempt to flee. No one was injured.

The Chief Justice, on considering Ibrahim’s ill health, said, “It is not a mitigating factor, except in the most exceptional cases when judicial mercy may be exercised (and) that this is not a case of a prisoner suffering from a terminal illness justifying the exercise of judicial mercy.”

The respondent Public Prosecutor was represented by Deputy Public Prosecutors Shamshuddin bin Haji Kamaluddin and Siti Khalilah binti Haji Hussin.