Man sentenced to death for drug trafficking; his brother gets life imprisonment

SINGAPORE - Two brothers who gave conflicting defences in the High Court on drug charges have been sentenced.

One will hang and the other escaped the gallows, receiving life imprisonment instead. Both were sentenced on Feb 21.

Mohamed Mubin Abdul Rahman, 59 - who got the death sentence - and Lokman Abdul Rahman, 55, were both convicted on Feb 6 for drug trafficking offences. Lokman was also found guilty of drug possession.

Court documents said Lokman was arrested by Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers on Sept 8, 2015 with two bundles containing a total of 39.28g of diamorphine, as well as other packets of drugs, on him. The street name of diamorphine is heroin.

CNB officers also searched his apartment at Katong Park Towers, where they found other drug packets.

Mubin was subsequently arrested on Oct 5 that year.

Court documents state that both brothers provided conflicting defences, including contradicting accounts on the day of Lokman's arrest.

Lokman maintained throughout police investigations and in court that he worked for Mubin, including being a drug courier, in exchange for accommodation, drugs and money.

According to Lokman, Mubin had instructed him to deliver drugs from the Katong apartment to a flat in Holland Close on the day of his arrest.

When he arrived at the apartment later that day, Mubin instructed him, via a phone call, to deliver one of the two bundles of diamorphine in the apartment to a third party.

He was arrested after he left the apartment with both bundles in his bag.

In contrast, Mubin told the court that he did not give any instructions to Lokman, and had no knowledge of the drugs found on his brother or in the Katong apartment. He claimed that he was simply a moderate consumer of methamphetamine, another drug.

He alleged that Lokman gave false evidence to implicate him, as his brother wanted to get back at him because of a rivalry for the affections of his former wife, Ms Hasina Begum Glum Hussin Mullah.

He further claimed that Lokman also did so, as he wanted to get a Certificate of Substantive Assistance (CSA) from the prosecution. The certificate, which states that its recipient has substantively helped the CNB in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Singapore, would allow Lokman a chance to avoid the mandatory death penalty.

In her written grounds of decision dated March 10, Justice Valerie Thean said that she found Lokman's testimony largely consistent with several pieces of evidence and testimonies of independent witnesses, including Mubin's drug suppliers who were convicted in a separate High Court trial last year.

On the other hand, Mubin's testimony in court directly contradicted those of his drug suppliers, among other things, Justice Thean said.

She noted that his allegations about the sibling rivalry over his former wife was disputed by Ms Hasina herself. Ms Hasina had told the court that there were no plans for the former spouses to reconcile, nor was Lokman vying for her affection.

The judge also said that she did not think Mubin was a "creditworthy witness", and found that he had lied to the police and in court on multiple instances.

"I therefore agreed with the prosecution that these lies were corroborative of Mubin's guilt," she said in her written grounds of decision.

Justice Thean stated that in sentencing both men last month, she noted that Lokman acted as a courier for Mubin. Furthermore, the prosecution had issued a CSA to him.

She then exercised her discretion to sentence Lokman to life imprisonment, she said.

The judge also said that in contrast, Mubin was neither merely a courier nor was he granted a CSA by the prosecution.

"I therefore pronounced the mandatory sentence of death on Mubin," Justice Thean said.