Friday, November 26, 2021

Mat Sabu’s son freed of drug abuse charge

The Kuala Lumpur High Court says the conviction was flawed as the police had not complied with the guidelines in taking Ahmad Saiful Islam's urine sample.

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The High Court today acquitted and discharged former defence minister Mohamad Sabu’s son, Ahmad Saiful Islam, of a drug abuse charge made against him two years ago.

Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah allowed the appeal by Saiful, 33, to quash the conviction and eight-month jail sentence imposed by the Magistrate’s Court in Kuala Lumpur on June 24 last year.

Sequerah in his judgment said the taking of only one bottle of urine had left open the possibility of contamination as the same sample was used by both the police for the screening test and the chemist for the confirmatory test.

“I find that the failure of the police to abide by the guidelines in omitting to take two bottles of urine has rendered the conviction flawed,” he said.

The judge said that the Inspector-General’s Standing Order F103 (IGSO F103) and health ministry’s guidelines require the use of two empty and clean plastic bottles to collect urine from drug abuse suspects.

“The suspects should be given the option to choose the two bottles. One of the bottles is for screening purposes by the police while the second sample should be sent to the hospital for a confirmation test after the first bottle is confirmed positive for drugs.

“The second bottle must be properly sealed and secured… health ministry guideline No. 6/2002 requires at least 30 millilitres of urine sample in one bottle,” he said.

Sequerah also said it was evident that the presumption under Section 37(K) of the Dangerous Drugs Act needed to be rebutted on a balance of probabilities which was of a higher standard than merely to raise reasonable doubt.

“That being the case, there is a more compelling reason why the process of taking the urine sample must be conducted with strict compliance with procedure, which in this case are the guidelines and the possibility of contamination of the sample being minimised if not obliterated altogether.

“Therefore, the prosecution has failed to prove the case against the appellant and this appeal and the conviction ought to be set aside. The bail amount of RM9,000 is to be returned to the appellant,” he said.

Lawyers Nicholas Kow, Nasar Khan and Emile Ezra Hussain represented Saiful while deputy public prosecutor Izalina Abdullah appeared for the prosecution.

Saiful was charged with using a THC-type drug at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur at 2.05am on Jan 5, 2019.

On June 24 last year, magistrate Mohamad Aizat Abdul Rahim sentenced him to eight months’ jail after finding that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s case.

The court ordered Saiful to serve the jail sentence from June 24 last year and to undergo a two-year surveillance under the National Anti-Drugs Agency after completing the jail sentence.

On July 2 last year, Saiful filed an appeal against the Magistrate Court’s decision on the sentencing.

The court allowed his application to stay the execution of the jail sentence pending his appeal in the High Court.

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