Old Cases

Old Cases: Datchinamurthy a/l Kataiah

Datchinamurthy a/l Kataiah was arrested on 18 January 2011, after passing Christeen d/o Jayamany a red plastic bag that was later found to have contained no less than 44.96 grams of diamorphine.

According to the account, as laid out in the High Court judgment written by Justice Tay Yong Kwang, Datchina’s role was to deliver drugs to Christeen and relay messages between her and his boss, Rajah.

In a statement, Datchinamurthy admitted that he knew the packets contained drugs, but that he had committed the offense because he was in a difficult situation financially. He also said in his own defense in court that Rajah had told him that the drugs were “not serious drugs”. Based on what he knew from the newspapers and television, heroin was a white powder; he said he, therefore, did not know that he was carrying heroin, because the packets he had contained a brown, granular substance.

Justice Tay found that neither Datchinamurthy nor Christeen had adequately rebutted the presumptions within the Misuse of Drugs Act by proving on a balance of probabilities that they did not know the nature of the drugs they were carrying.

Christeen was issued with a Certificate of Cooperation. As a courier, she was handed a sentence of life imprisonment.

The Public Prosecutor did not issue Datchinamurthy with a Certificate of Cooperation to indicate that he had substantively assisted the authorities. Furthermore, Justice Tay found that Datchinamurthy’s activities – which included the recruitment of Christeen and asking her to find more customers – fell outside of the definition of a courier as specified within the law. Datchinamurthy was thus given the mandatory death penalty.

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