Repeat drug offender’s sentence increased to three years

Fadley Faisal

The High Court substituted a repeat drug offender’s sentence of two years with three years’ jail on allowing the Public Prosecutor’s appeal.

Salman bin Arshad was sentenced by the Magistrate’s Court to two years’ jail for two drug consumption offences he committed in March and September 2017. He had a prior conviction in 1996 drug consumption.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Pengiran Hajah Nor ‘Azmeena binti Pengiran Haji Mohiddin, representing the Public Prosecutor, appealed citing that the magistrate was required to pass a minimum sentence of three years’ jail to an offender who has a prior drug consumption conviction.

Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong, on giving consideration to the application, said that the court has no power to pass a sentence less than the minimum of three years in this circumstance, unless, in the presence of exceptional circumstances.

“A lapse between convictions no matter how long cannot, by itself, be regarded as a ground for not imposing the mandatory minimum sentence (and) there are no exceptional circumstances in the respondent’s favour to justify not imposing (it),” considered the Chief Justice on allowing the appeal.