A WOMAN, who was prosecuted on three counts of drug possession and has spent nine years of her 10 years’ prison sentence, being slapped with Rs 1 lakh fine on each count, can now walk out of jail, with the Bombay High Court granting her bail.
Justice Abhay M Thipsay recently observed that she had already spent nine years’ jail time and her appeal against the punishment was not likely to come up any time soon.
“In the ordinary course, the appeal is not likely to be taken up for hearing immediately or within a short time,” observed Justice Thipsay.
The court, pending the hearing of Mwangila Pamela’s appeal, suspended the sentences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act imposed on her. The applicant was subsequently asked to furnish a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh and asked to report to the trial court the first Monday of every month.
Pamela’s lawyer Ayaz Khan had denied his client’s complicity. He argued the prosecution’s case did not hold water. From the absence of baggage identification tags on her luggage to a police witness being guided in court to a mismatched quantity of the seized contraband, Khan said none of the prosecution’s arguments was proved in court.
In addition, he stressed, the prosecution had argued that there was a security strap around Pamela’s bag but that was not produced before the court during the trial. Francis Saldanha, special prosecutor for the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, contested the defence’s claims.
According to him, the difference in the weight of the sample was due to the fact that initially the samples were weighed along with the polythene bags in which the contraband was used. However, in the laboratory, the samples were weighed after without the bags. Saldanha also said though the baggage identification tags were not held as proved by the trial judge, they had been produced before the court, indeed. He submitted that the security strap might not have been produced because it was not considered important.