Man facing death penalty seeks to be released on bail
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
A PERMANENT resident who is facing the death penalty charge is seeking to be release on bail pending his drug trafficking trial.
Defendant Lim Yen Sheng is facing a holding charge of possession of cannabis – with a gross weight of 900 grammes – for the purpose of trafficking on January 25 at Kg Belimbing, Subok.
The penalty for possession of over 600 grammes of the Class A drug is death.
The 31-year-old was remanded after his arrest on January 25 this year.
He was subsequently moved to Jerudong Prison on February 4 where he has been remanded since.
During the proceedings before Senior Magistrate Lailatul Zubaidah Hj Mohd Hussain yesterday, defence counsel for Lim, Ahmad Zakaria, sought for the court to assume jurisdiction to hear the bail application on drug cases that carries the death penalty, as well as for his client to be released on bail.
The application was in response to prosecution who sought for Lim to be further remanded pending the chemist report which will be “tentatively” ready in four months.
In his application yesterday, the defence counsel cited several recent cases at the Magistrates’ Court and High Court Appeal where the magistrates assumed jurisdiction to hear the bail application.
Ahmad Zakaria cited the same cases where the bail application was granted by the presiding magistrates.
The defence council argued that the prosecution indication that the chemist report will tentatively be ready by July does not confirm or fix a date when the certificate will be ready, adding that there was also no return confirmation to this effect.
He further cited the Department of Scientific Services client’s charter which states that the chemist report would be ready in eight months.
Ahmad Zakaria said that the Department of Scientific Services has yet to meet the timeline of their cases.
He said that drug cases from 2014 are currently being carried out while cases from 2015 are still pending.
On the bail application, the defence counsel said there is no risk of Lim absconding as he is a Bruneian permanent resident, is employed in Brunei and has strong family ties and commitment in the sultanate.
He further said that the defendant, who is also a Muslim convert, is engaged to a local.
Ahmad Zakaria added that the risk of witness tampering is also “very remote” as the prosecution’s witnesses are mostly from enforcement agencies.
Following the proceedings yesterday, the senior magistrate granted an adjournment to February 24 to allow the prosecution time to prepare a reply submission on the defence counsel’s application.
Meanwhile, Lim was ordered to be further remanded at Jerudong Prison pending the next mention of the case.
The Brunei Times