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Malaysia: Death Penalty for Distributing Cannabis Oils
Monday 03 Sep 2018
– Lukman (HealTHCare)
Shah Alam High Court, Selangor, Malaysia
Criminal Trial 45A – 83 – 09/2015
PUBLIC PROSECUTOR VS MUHAMMAD LUKMAN BIN MOHAMAD
Thursday, 30 August 2018, MUHAMMAD LUKMAN BIN MOHAMAD (HealTHCare) was convicted and condemned to death by Shah Alam High court judge Dato ‘Haji Ghazali bin Haji Cha. He was charge under Section 39B Dangerous Drug Act for possession 3.01 litre Cannabis oil and 279 grams of compressed cannabis. He was arrested at his residence on December 7 2015 along with his wife who was his 6 months pregnant.
Lukman was represented by lawyer Farhan Maaruf. Farhan had argued that Lukman was not involved in any crime or a criminal that threatened national security. He was not associated with any illegal syndicates but merely collaborated with several independent organizations such as Bani Tenang dan G.E.N.G.G.A.M (Gerakan Edukasi Ganja Malaysia/ Malaysia Ganja Education Movement) that focused on educating the public on medical marijuana. The cannabis oils were intended to treat diseases and not to get high or any criminal activities as claimed by the prosecutor. For those who were too poor to pay, Lukman provided them with free cannabis oil. All these demonstrates that HealTHCare was not a profit-making syndicate.
During the defence stage, those who had received cannabis oil from Lukman were called to testified in court. Among others was a Thalassemia patient who had been using cannabis oil as his primary treatment since 2016 without getting any drugs from the hospital. Lukman’s mother also testified in court how cannabis oil given by Lukman ease her illness. Before his arret, Lukman had given Cannabis oil therapy to nearly 800 patients.
From the beginning of the trial the defence had question the drug testing procedure and inability of government chemist to quantify the nett weight of the drugs. However, at the end of prosecution case, the judge had ruled that the chemist’s testimonial from Department of Chemistry evidence must be accepted in total because the chemist was a government servant and had no reason to lie.
The police officer who raided Lukman’s house could not recall where he found the paper bag containing cannabis. However, the high court Judge ruled that he was a credible witness because he is a government servant that has no reason to lie.
Thus, the defence had called their own expert witness to testify. Professor Mohammad Aris Mohd Moklas, is a public university researcher from University Putra Malaysia. He specialized in neuroscience and chemistry. Prof Aris testified that the equipment and procedure used by the Department of Chemistry Malaysia were insufficient to quantify the quantity of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC had to be segregated from the grape seed oil to ascertain its net weight just like the procedure adopted in cases of synthetic drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine. He commented that the equipment at the Chemistry Department need to be upgraded in line with current technology for a more precise finding. Prof. Aris also presented his scientific research involving the effect of cannabis on laboratory mice particularly “Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Induce Neurogenesis and Improve Cognitive Performance of Male Sprague Dawley Rats”.
The prosecution submitted that Lukman’s defence were afterthought and a mere denial.
The prosecution further argued that the use of cannabis oil was not supported by any certified physician nor permitted by Malaysian Ministry of Health. The Judge concluded that the study of Prof Mohammad Aris was not recognized by the Ministry of Health and could not be considered for Lukman’s defence. Ignorance of the law does not release a person from any criminal offense.
Lukman’s lawyer had requested the court to reduce his sentence. Lukman is only 29 years old and a father to his 3 years old son. However, his mitigation was rejected by the court and Lukman was condemn to death.
Lukman is in Kajang Prison, awaiting for his appeal at Court of Appeal.
Any support and inquiry from the public may contact his lawyer, Farhan Maaruf & Co at 018-566399 @ 03-64129063 @ Fax: 03-64129063.
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