KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A New Zealand mother found guilty of heroin trafficking received a mandatory death penalty today, but her son escaped the gallows and was sentenced to 20 years in prison and six strokes of a cane on conviction of a less serious charge.
In handing down the guilty verdict against Lorraine Phyllis Cohen, 44, a mother of four, Penang High Court Judge Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah said there was no proof that she was a "chronic" addict at the time of her arrest. He said the only conclusion he could draw from the trial evidence was that she was a drug trafficker.
Under Malaysia's strict drug laws, a judge must sentence to death anyone found guilty of trafficking half an ounce or more of heroin or morphine, two pounds of opium or seven ounces of cannabis.
Dzaiddin, known as the "hanging judge," said the amount of heroin police discovered on Lorraine Cohen, five ounces, was "too great" for him to believe it was for her own use.