Australian Free from Death Penalty in Malaysia

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By Athena Yenko | July 10, 2014 4:07 PM EST

Australian truck driver Dominic Bird evades death penalty in Malaysia following acquittal from a drug trafficking case against him.

Bird was taken in custody in March 2012 as he allegedly supplied 167 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover police officer. The amount of the illegal drugs found in his possession already constitutes the sentence of death penalty in Malaysia.

REUTERS/Samsul Said
Dominic Bird (L) of Australia and his father Clayton Bird leave the Malaysian Court of Appeal in Putrajaya July 9, 2014. The Malaysia Court of Appeal on Wednesday dismissed an appeal from the prosecution and upheld the High Court's decision to discharge and acquit Dominic Bird after a ruling that acquitted him of drug trafficking charges was overthrown, according to local media.

In September of 2013, he was acquitted and freed as Inspector Luther Nurjib, the star witness for the case, was found to have been guilty of corruption.

Bird's defence was that he was set up by Inspector Nurjib in an attempt to bribe him. Nurjib was later found guilty of contempt of court after it was proven that he had attempted to bribe a witness to testify in his favour.

However, Bird was arrested again minutes before he boards the plane back to Perth.

The court approved an 11th-hour appeal by prosecutors, hence Bird being arrested again at that time, the ABC reports.

Bird's lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, hopes that the current ruling by court will be final and Bird will be allowed to return to Perth permanently. Abdullah noted that federal judges from the High Court and the Court of Appeals had already spoken of Bird's innocence. He said that it is only a matter of days before Bird could be granted visa to leave Malaysia.

Bird told press that he had always been confident that justice is on his side.

"We had a strong case from the start. I didn't have a single grain of doubt that this outcome would be what it is right now."

Bird's father also expressed relief that his son is now officially free from false accusations.

Still, Malaysian authorities seemed to have developed obsession over Bird as Prosecutor Awang Armadajaya said he will still heed the advice of the Attorney-General's office whether or not to continue to pursue Mr Bird. Awang still has 14 days to appeal Bird's acquittal while awaiting the Attorney-General's decision.

For the meantime, Bird's mood will not be spoiled.

"I see myself as the cat with nine lives. I can't get these years back, but I have to keep positive," Bird said.

He added that he is still willing to "face the music" should Armadajaya be granted an appeal.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Samsul Said / REUTERS/Samsul Said)
Dominic Bird (L) of Australia and his father Clayton Bird leave the Malaysian Court of Appeal in Putrajaya July 9, 2014. The Malaysia Court of Appeal on Wednesday dismissed an appeal from the prosecution and upheld the High Court's decision to discharge and acquit Dominic Bird after a ruling that acquitted him of drug trafficking charges was overthrown, according to local media.
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