Updated: 07/10/2014 21:03 | By Agence France-Presse

Malaysia court upholds Australian's drug case acquittal

A Malaysian court has upheld the acquittal of an Australian, who had faced the death penalty for drug trafficking, his lawyer said Thursday.

Malaysia court upholds Australian's drug case acquittal

Dominic Bird arrives at the appeals court in Putrajaya on September 10, 2013 - by Mohd Rasfan

The court of appeal in the administrative capital of Putrajaya ruled on Wednesday that a lower court judge had been right to free Dominic Bird, his lawyer Tania Scivetti said.

The prosecution can still appeal the verdict to Malaysia's highest court, but Bird was free to leave the country, she added.

Bird was arrested in March 2012 for alleged possession of 167 grammes (5.9 ounces) of methamphetamine.

A high court acquitted him in September last year but he was ordered to remain in the country pending the government's original appeal of the case.

Trafficking carries a mandatory death sentence by hanging upon conviction under Muslim-majority Malaysia's strict drug laws.

Hundreds of people are on death row, many for drug-related offences, though few have been executed in recent years.

Two Australians were hanged in 1986 for heroin trafficking -- the first Westerners to be executed.

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