Friday, November 11, 2005

On Drug Trafficking and its Consequences

[Death in Singapore, you must speak out Mr. Howard]

it's been publicised in Singapore and Australian newspapers now for a while, the case of Nguyen Tuong Van who was charged for bringing slightly under 400 grams of heroin into Singapore while on transit on his way to Australia.

his lawyer, Lex Lasry wrote the piece that's linked above which was published in theage newspaper today. i disagreed with many points, and though i sympathise with his family, and would probably say differently if i was in that position, i think Nguyen Tuong Van should hang. i also think that the Australian government thinks he should hang. otherwise, prime minister John Howard wouldn't be keeping quiet about the whole situation and not using all power possible to extradite Van from Singapore.

Mr. Howard is probably thinking, 'phew, at least we have Singapore to take care of ONE drug trafficker for us. i have enough on my plate with the Bali Nine and Michelle Leslie already!'

in part of Lex Lasry's speech, this is what he said:

Nguyen had no intention of dealing with the drug in Singapore. He was on his way to Melbourne. The heroin was never going to cross the Customs barrier and was never going to be distributed in Singapore. Apart from the symbolism of it, Singapore had nothing to fear from Van.

Every airplane that lands in Singapore has the same announcement made. 'Drug trafficking in Singapore is a serious offence, and carries with it the drug penalty.' It doesn't matter that the heroin wasn't going to cross the Customs barrier. The fact of the matter is that the drugs were brought INTO Singapore, and it was IN Singapore's jurisdiction to arrest Nguyen and subject him to their laws. (And that's giving Lex Lasry the benefit of the doubt that his client really wasn't going to distribute the drug in Singapore)

It's not about what Singapore had to fear from Van. It's about the fairness of the system. Lex Lasry cannot expect Singapore to let one person go on a drug trafficking charge just because he is Australian.

Van was apprehended, charged, tried, found guilty before a judge alone, not a jury. He appealed. The appeal was dismissed, then he sought clemency. The clemency petition was 70 pages of personal circumstances, details of assistance to authorities, arguments about the constitutional basis on which clemency ought to be extended.
I don't get the relevance of this paragraph in the speech. It just makes his lawyer sound like he's grasping at straws, trying to find a sympathy point but failing miserably. So what if the clemency petition was 70 pages of personal circumstances?

The Singapore government has hardly been known for their leniency. I don't think it would have mattered if they wrote a thousand pages.

Every time I'm interviewed, almost without fail, the journalist says: "Yes, well people would say, he went to the country, he knew the risk, therefore …" Fill in the blank. Therefore, Van deserves to be executed because of that? If you wouldn't execute him for the crime, would you execute him for being stupid in going to Singapore and doing what he did?
YES! Of COURSE he deserves to be executed for going into Singapore and knowing the risk. That even makes him more responsible for what he did! And besides, a stupid drug trafficker is as good as a dead one when it comes to countries like Singapore.

Well, I want Mr Howard to say: "This is something we do not want to happen — we're not just sympathetic, we're not just sorry, we don't want it to happen".
I think he does want it to happen. It's one less drug trafficker off his hands after all.

The injustice that I talk about, the thing that criminal lawyers ought to be concerned about, is the injustice of a disproportionate mandatory death penalty, and it isn't being vigorously opposed by the leader of our Government.
I don't think Mr. Howard wants to jeopardise relationships with Singapore over one drug trafficker. It is not an injustice. Again, the very basic fact is that he did the crime while he was in Singapore. It really is up to Singaporean authorities how they want to treat Nguyen.

And another thing. This case isn't getting as much coverage and publicity as the Bali Nine or Michelle Leslie case. It is my feeling that Mr. Howard only stepped in on behalf of the Bali Nine because of the outrage of the Australian public that Indonesian authorities could condemn nine (count them, nine. not one lowlife drug trafficker but NINE) people to death.

I wonder how much Mr. Lasry is being paid to defend Nguyen, must not be a whole lot if all his efforts are like the speech above. If he's not making a convincing case, why would other people see fit to give him the attention needed to save his client?

One less drug trafficker in the world never hurt anybody.

These people are the root of societies problems. I wouldn't be sorry to see one hang.


Blogger KE said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:42 PM  
Blogger KE said...

I agree with you, there's no reason why he should be let go . . . I didn't know you thought about this kind of things.

Howard is just protecting himself. I don't think he really wants to save that guy. He's a drug trafficker, Howard has better things to do.

3:46 PM  
Blogger mooiness said...

Actually I don't think the PM stepped in with regards to the Bali Nine but I could be wrong. In any case, Australia can't go around telling other countries how to use their laws. And he has mentioned this before and that is, "We wouldn't like it if another country does the same to us."

That aside, there will always be "stupid" drug carriers who are either duped, coerced or desperate enough to do it. The root of the cause has to be the demand for the drugs. The drug cartels are just business-ppl who gambled on the odds that 1 or 2 out of 10 carriers would get caught. They don't care if they lose a mule or two because the profit margins are high.

Killing the demand and spending more on drug prevention and treating the addiction are small starting steps. It's a global problem though so it is definitely easier said than done.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Ally said...

ke: eh eh eh, i not ENTIRELY bimbotic okay. just...most of the times :P

mooi: i think there will always be drugs lar. the world will never be perfect. the point i was trying to make was that one less drug trafficker would make this world a better place.

they're like cockroaches, you can't stamp out all of them at one go but getting rid of a few will definitely make me happy

5:29 PM  
Blogger Wen said...

Just cuz they're Australian doesn't mean they should be treated any different to other people. Just cuz we're a fair go doesn't mean we dont have to abide by others.

Nevertheless a sad case. He was just trying to pay off the debts of his twin brother. I rkn they should swap em ard :P

1:02 AM  
Anonymous lysh said...

hang! hang! hang! i agree.. 1 less ass to deal with!!

5:04 AM  

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