Drug trafficking: Ukrainian woman escapes noose

GEORGE TOWN: A Ukrainian woman escaped the gallows after being acquitted of a charge of trafficking in 1,541.8g of cocaine, two years ago.

Justice Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed held that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against Lopatkina Klavdiia, 23.

The woman was charged with committing the offence at Penang International Airport arrival hall at 11am on Dec 31, 2015.

The charge under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, punishable under Section 39B(2) of the same Act, carries the death sentence on conviction.

At the time of her arrest, Lopatkina was one month pregnant and gave birth to a daughter in August last year while under remand and her mother later brought the baby back to their country.

In his ruling, the judge said there was inconsistency in the testimonies of three witnesses.

He said the investigating officer, police officer and chemist gave conflicting evidence on the package containing the drugs that was found with the accused.

Seven prosecution witnesses were called during the hearing.

The prosecution was represented by deputy public prosecutor Noor Azrul Abdul Rahman while Lopatkina was defended by two lawyers, Datuk N. Sivananthan and Low Huey Theng.

Meanwhile, the woman was rearrested by the Penang Immigration Department for possession of an expired visa. — Bernama