Updated: 03/03/2014 20:14

Malaysian drug trafficker resentenced to life imprisonment

Malaysian drug trafficker resentenced to life imprisonment

A drug trafficker awaiting capital punishment has become the first to be re-sentenced to life imprisonment under new drug laws that took effect last year. 

The High Court today found that Malaysian, Dinesh Pillai Reja Retnam, had proven, on a balance of probabilities, that he only played the role of a courier, and that he was suffering from such abnormality of mind which substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts. 

A statement from the Attorney-General's Chambers, says he was assessed to be suffering from major depressive disorder of moderate severity at and around the time of the offence. 

A medical examination also suggested some degree of damage to his brain. 

The death penalty used to be mandatory for those caught dealing in controlled drugs above a certain weight, such as 15g or more for heroin. 

But under new drug laws, judges can give life imprisonment and caning instead of death to drug couriers who are certified by the AG's Chambers to have substantively helped the authorities. 

Those who have mental illnesses also qualify. 

Dinesh had been sentenced to hang for trafficking 19.35g of heroin in 2011. 

His appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 2012.

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