Drug trafficker's appeal against death sentence adjourned

Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was arrested in 2009 with heroin strapped to his thigh. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The appeal of Malaysian drug trafficker Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, which was scheduled to be heard on Monday (Jan 24), has been adjourned.

The Straits Times understands that Nagaenthran's new lawyer, Ms Violet Netto, who took over the case from Mr M. Ravi, had applied for the adjournment.

He is appealing against a High Court decision denying him permission to start judicial review proceedings to challenge his execution.

No new hearing date has been fixed.

The hearing was slated to be heard by a five-judge panel comprising Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Justices Andrew Phang, Judith Prakash, Belinda Ang and Chao Hick Tin.

Nagaenthran has also asked the court to exercise its power to have him assessed by psychiatrists.

He was arrested in 2009 with heroin strapped to his thigh.

He was convicted of trafficking 42.72g of heroin in 2010 and given the death penalty, which was then mandatory.

His appeals against his conviction and sentence were dismissed in 2011.

In 2015, he applied to be resentenced to life imprisonment after the law was changed to allow the alternative sentence.

The High Court upheld his death sentence in 2017 after considering expert evidence from four psychiatric and psychological experts.

Last year, Nagaenthran made an eleventh-hour attempt to challenge his impending execution on Nov 10, on the basis that he was suffering from mental disabilities.

His bid was dismissed by the High Court and he appealed.

On the day of his appeal on Nov 9, he tested positive for Covid-19. He was granted a stay of execution and the hearing was adjourned.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.