For those of you (or your friends) who wonder why I am against the Mandatory Death Penalty for drugs trafficking, here are the reasons – the many presumption clauses in the Misuse of Drugs Act.
(You can view the entire Act here.)
Count the number of times the word “presume” or “presumption” (highlighted in bold) appear in the Act (below).
This clause makes the prosecution’s job a breeze and the accused has almost no way of defending himself.
And with judges not allowed to take mitigating circumstances of the accused into consideration, the accused’s fate is sealed – right from the moment he is arrested.
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT
Presumption concerning trafficking
17. Any person who is proved to have had in his possession more than —
(a) 100 grammes of opium;
(b) 3 grammes of morphine;
(c) 2 grammes of diamorphine;
(d) 15 grammes of cannabis;
(e) 30 grammes of cannabis mixture;
(f) 10 grammes of cannabis resin;
(g) 3 grammes of cocaine;
(h) 25 grammes of methamphetamine;
(ha) 113 grammes of ketamine; or
(i) 10 grammes of any or any combination of the following:
(i) N, α-dimethyl-3,4-(methylenedioxy)phenethylamine;
(ii) α-methyl-3,4-(methylenedioxy)phenethylamine; or
whether or not contained in any substance, extract, preparation or mixture, shall be presumed to have had that drug in possession for the purpose of trafficking unless it is proved that his possession of that drug was not for that purpose.
Presumption of possession and knowledge of controlled drugs
18. —(1) Any person who is proved to have had in his possession or custody or under his control —
(a) anything containing a controlled drug;
(b) the keys of anything containing a controlled drug;
(c) the keys of any place or premises or any part thereof in which a controlled drug is found; or
(d) a document of title relating to a controlled drug or any other document intended for the delivery of a controlled drug,
shall, until the contrary is proved, be presumed to have had that drug in his possession.
(2) Any person who is proved or presumed to have had a controlled drug in his possession shall, until the contrary is proved, be presumed to have known the nature of that drug.
(3) The presumptions provided for in this section shall not be rebutted by proof that the accused never had physical possession of the controlled drug.
(4) Where one of 2 or more persons with the knowledge and consent of the rest has any controlled drug in his possession, it shall be deemed to be in the possession of each and all of them.
Presumption concerning premises
19. —(1) Where a pipe, syringe, utensil, apparatus or other article intended for the smoking, administration or consumption of a controlled drug is found in any place or premises, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that the place or premises is used for the purpose of smoking, administering or consuming a controlled drug.
(2) Any person found in or escaping from any place or premises which is proved or presumed to be used for the purpose of smoking or administering a controlled drug shall, until the contrary is proved, be presumedto have been smoking or administering a controlled drug in that place or premises.
Presumption relating to ship or aircraft
20. If any controlled drug is found in any ship or aircraft, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that the drug has been imported in that ship or aircraft with the knowledge of the master or the captain thereof.
Presumption relating to vehicle
21. If any controlled drug is found in any vehicle, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to be in the possession of the owner of the vehicle and of the person in charge of the vehicle for the time being.
Presumption relating to urine test
22. If any controlled drug is found in the urine of a person as a result of both urine tests conducted under section 31(4)( b), he shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to have consumed that controlled drug in contravention of section 8(b).