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Singapore man gets death penalty for 4.5kg of cannabis he said was for ‘research’

In his judgment issued on Tuesday, Judge of the Appellate Division, Justice See Kee Oon, laid down the reasons for convicting Seet Poh Jing on one charge of having no less than 4,509.2g of cannabis mixture for trafficking.

Seet, formerly a property sales agent with Huttons Asia, had been arrested on June 28, 2018. Five blocks of vegetable matter were seized from a car to which he had led Central Narcotics Bureau officers.

The blocks were analysed to contain no less than 4,509.2g of cannabis mixture, which Seet referred to as “weed”.

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

Seet, then 28, pleaded not guilty to the charge, which carries the mandatory death penalty. He was represented by lawyers from Andre Jumabhoy LLC and Sterling Law Corporation.

Seet’s lawyers argued that their client had wanted to use the drugs for research and development rather than for trafficking.

Seet developed a fascination with cannabis, his lawyers argued. Beyond consuming it, Seet was interested in the cultivation and potential uses of cannabidiol, an ingredient derived from cannabis.

To that effect, Seet began consulting contacts over the possibility of starting a cannabis-related business.

The defence also relied on a psychiatric report that Seet had been suffering from a “drug-induced hypomanic episode” which contributed to what they described as his “reckless and impulsive behaviour” to carry out “grandiose plans to set up a cannabis business” by extracting cannabidiol oil.

The prosecution contended that Seet’s defence was a mere afterthought and was inconsistent with other evidence. It also argued that Seet did not fulfil the diagnostic requirement for