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Apex court upholds drug trafficking conviction against pimp who hides drugs in lookout’s haversack

A 35-year-old Malaysian pimp would still have to spend the remainder of his life behind bars, as the Court of Appeal threw out his appeal on Tuesday (19 February) morning.

The court – led by Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang and which included Judges of Appeal Judith Prakash and Steven Chong – agreed with Justice Choo Han Teck’s decision in the court below to convict Gunasilan Nadarajah of drug trafficking.

On the evening of 13 April 2016, the brothel operated by Gunasilan in Geylang was raided by the vice squad. Gunasilan, who was in Malaysia at the material time, was informed of the raid by his lookout, Hossain Mahabub.

After being told that the police had left the brothel, Gunasilan then returned to Singapore after midnight. When Gunasilan arrived at the brothel, he asked Hossain for his haversack and went into his room. He then hid drugs in the haversack before returning it to Hossain.

Hossain, however, discovered the drugs in his haversack and decided to surrender them to the police after seeking advice from his family and a friend.

He was subsequently charged for possessing drugs and sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and would eventually become the key Prosecution witness against Gunasilan at the latter’s trial.

In the meantime, Gunasilan left for Malaysia immediately after hiding drugs in Hossain’s haversack, and was arrested four days later upon his return to Singapore.

In August last year, Justice Choo found Gunasilan guilty of trafficking in 419.72g of methamphetamine (ice), by hiding them in Hossain’s haversack and passing the haversack to Hossain.

As Gunasilan’s acts made him a mere courier, and he was also given a certificate of substantive assistance by the Public Prosecutor, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane. Gunasilan was subsequently exempted from caning in January this year, as he had been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition , according to his lawyer Mr Ram Goswami.

At the appeal hearing, the judges found that there was no explanation as to why Hossain would falsely implicate Gunasilan. They also found it incredible that the drugs in the haversack could have belonged to Hossain in the first place.

“Why on earth would he want to surrender the drugs to the police?” Justice Phang questioned Mr Goswami several times, noting that Hossain could have simply disposed of the drugs without placing himseif in jeopardy of criminal prosecution, even if the drugs did not belong to him.

Justice Chong also noted that Gunasilan himself had admitted to dealing with drugs on other occasions. Together with Gunasilan’s DNA found on the drug exhibits, the evidence inescapbly linked Gunasilan to the bundles of drugs in question.