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Ex-property agent sentenced to death for cannabis trafficking, as judge rejects defense that drugs were for research

He had argued that drugs were tied to potential plans for a business venture, but judge dismissed claims as 'concocted afterthought'

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SINGAPORE — A former property agent was sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for trafficking cannabis, with the judge rejecting his claim that the drugs were for research and development.

The judgment, issued by Justice See Kee Oon of the Appellate Division on Tuesday (2 April), outlined the reasons for the conviction of Seet Poh Jing on one charge of having no less than 4509.2 grams of cannabis mixture for trafficking.

Seet, formerly a property sales agent with Huttons Asia, was arrested on 28 June 2018 after Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers seized five blocks of vegetable matter from a car.

The blocks were analysed to contain no less than 4509.2 grams of cannabis mixture, referred to by Seet as "weed".

Two mobile phones belonging to Seet were sent for forensic examination and found to contain mass-sent messages advertising the drug.

Seet's defence in cannabis case

Seet, then 28, claimed trial to the charge, which carried the mandatory death penalty. He was legally represented by lawyers from Andre Jumabhoy LLC and Sterling Law Corporation. The lawyers argued that their client intended to use the drugs for research and development rather than trafficking.

They claimed that Seet developed a fascination with cannabis, not just for consumption but also for its cultivation and potential uses of cannabidiol, an ingredient derived from cannabis.

He had consulted several contacts beginning from March 2018 regarding the possibility of starting a cannabis-related business.

The defence also relied on a psychiatric report stating that Seet had been suffering from a "drug-induced hypomanic episode", which "contributed significantly to his reckless and impulsive behaviour at the material time" as he was using the drugs for the extraction of cannabidiol oil, as part of his "grandiose plans to set up a cannabis business".

However, the prosecution contended that his defence was a mere afterthought and inconsistent with other evidence. It also argued that Seet did not fulfil the diagnostic requirement for substance-induced hypomanic disorder.


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