Tuesday November 5, 2013 MYT 7:44:33 AM
Iranian charged with drug smuggling walks free because of his shoes
By QISHIN TARIQ
PUTRAJAYA: In a Cinderella-like twist, an Iranian tourist was spared the gallows after the Federal Court here found the shoes the prosecution’s case hinged on were not the right ones.
A panel chaired by Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria unanimously upheld a Seremban High Court decision to acquit Mostafa Kamal Abadi, 31, of accusations that he had trafficked 371g of methamphetamine in the soles of his shoes.
Justice Arifin ruled there were discrepancies in the prosecution’s evidence with regards to the shoes that were produced in court, finding that they were not the same as the pair seized by the Customs that supposedly contained the drugs.
While the Federal Court usually does not require physical evidence exhibits to be produced during hearings, the panel made the exception in order to inspect the shoes.
The panel found that the shoes produced were grey while the ones in the evidence photos were blue. The shoe brands also did not match.
The five-man panel, which included Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum, Justices Abdull Hamid Embong, Mohamed Apandi Ali and Justice Ramly Ali, concluded that the prosecution failed to remedy the discrepancy.
Mostafa was charged on June 25, 2010, with the offence at the KL International Airport.
Under Section 39B(2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, carrying more than 50g of methamphetamine is a capital offence punishable by hanging.
The Seremban High Court acquitted and discharged Mostafa on Jan 26 last year, ruling that the defence had raised reasonable doubt that the shoes produced in court were not the ones seized from Mostafa by the Customs officer on the day of his arrest.
However, when the prosecution appealed against the decision, Mostafa’s case and the shoes were brought up to a Court of Appeal panel which requested the prosecution to produce the contested footwear.
On Aug 9, 2012, the three-man panel unanimously found that the trial judge had erred, ruling that the shoes were in fact the very same ones, thus there was no break in the chain of evidence.