Five-judge Court of Appeal slated to hear drug trafficker's challenge on Jan 24

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

SINGAPORE - The appeal of Malaysian drug trafficker Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, who is seeking to challenge his execution, has been scheduled to be heard on Jan 24.

The appeal is set 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, 33, is appealing against a High Court decision denying him permission to start judicial review proceedings to challenge his death sentence.

Represented by lawyer M. Ravi, he has also asked the court to exercise its power to have him be assessed by a panel of psychiatrists.

Nagaenthran was arrested in 2009 with a bundle of heroin strapped to his thigh.

He was convicted of trafficking 42.72g of heroin in 2010 and sentenced to 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.

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

Last year, Nagaenthran made an 11th hour attempt to challenge his impending execution on Nov 10, on the basis that he was suffering from mental disabilities.

After his bid was dismissed by the High Court, he appealed.

However, on the day of his appeal on Nov 9, he tested positive for Covid-19.

The three-judge panel then granted him a stay of execution and adjourned the hearing.

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