22 Jan 2007


The High Court in Singapore had imposed Death Sentence on Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi. 19, a Nigerian and Okele Nelson Malachy, 33, who is stateless (from South Africa).

On the 16th March 2006, the Court of Appeal dismissed their appeals. As a last resort, they can file appeal for clemency to the President. It is clear from previous clemency petitions that the President hardly grants any clemency.

In Singapore, "the law presumes that a person caught in possession of prohibited drugs knows that he is in possession of illicit drugs, with the burden of rebutting the presumption on the person charged."

Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi thought that he was carrying African herbs that tasted like chocolate. On 28 November 2004, he was arrested at the Changi Airport transit lounge with heroin. He had with him 100 capsules of heroin weighing about 727.02 grams.

Tochi was arrested for allegedly carrying heroin while Malachy was nabbed in a subsequent police operation after Tochi identified him as one of his companions. The court in Singapore handed the death sentence after a 13-day trial. It is disturbing to note that the learned trial judge himself having raised reasonable doubts proceeded to convict them.

Against Tochi the trial judge Mr.Kan Ting Chiu made the following finding at paragraph 42 of his judgment [2005] SGHC 233:

"There was no direct evidence that he knew the capsules contained diamorphine. There was nothing to suggest that Smith had told him they contained diamorhine, or that he had found that out of his own."

Against Malachy, the trial judge made the following finding at paragraph 61 of his judgment:

"Although there was no direct evidence that the accused knew that the capsules contained drugs, and there is no presumption of such knowledge raised against him…"


Capt_Canuck said...

though, the trial judge said nothing about the burden on the accused to find out what he is carrying. Isnt it the responsibility of the person not to just accept things and carry them but to find out what is in them first before carrying? isnt here a burden on the people to find out these things?

after all, if someone says "here, put this tablet into that persons drink" and I go ahead and do it and it turns out that the pill was poison and that person dies, am I not guilty of that persons death? ignorance is no excuse under the law.

Anonymous said...

yes you are right capt_canuck ignorance is not an excuse .But its also very wrong when the state kills a man .it makes the perpetrators far far worse than enything the victim may have done