Man escapes death penalty for second time

Last updated 18:13 09/07/2014
Dominic Bird

ACQUITTED: Dominic Bird arriving at the Malaysian Court of Appeal today where he heard that an appeal against his acquittal on drugs charges had failed.

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An Australian man has escaped the death  penalty for a second time after a Malaysian court rejected an appeal by prosecutors against his acquittal on drug charges.

Dominic Bird, from Perth, was arrested in March 2012 at a cafe  near his apartment in Kuala Lumpur and accused of trying to supply  an undercover police officer with 167 grams of methamphetamine — an  amount that carries a mandatory death sentence.

He was acquitted after the case against the 34-year-old fell  apart amid allegations of corruption on the part of the  prosecution’s star witness — Inspector Luther Nurjib — and Mr Bird  was set free in September 2013.

Mr Bird was just five minutes from freedom and waiting to board  a flight back to Australia when he was re-arrested at the boarding  gate of Kuala Lumpur’s international airport following an 11th-hour  appeal by prosecutors.

But the Malaysian Court of Appeal in Putrajaya on Wednesday  rejected the prosecution’s bid to have the High Court’s decision  overturned, with Mr Bird again set free, subsequently beating the  death penalty for a second time.

Prosecutor Awang Armadajaya told AAP he would consult with his  superiors at the Attorney-General’s office about whether or not to  pursue Mr Bird.

The prosecution has 14 days to appeal, and Mr Awang said he may  seek an injunction to prevent Mr Bird from leaving Malaysia while  the Attorney-General’s office considers its options.

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