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  • A foreign drug smuggler was sentenced to death with immediate execution, the firm's criminal defense team helped appeal and saved his life.

  • DATE:2017-3-22
  • In July 2014, a young foreigner by an international drug gang's high return inducement, attempted to carry suitcase with hidden drug out of China from Guangzhou Baiyun Airport. Customs officers have found nearly 9 kilograms of methylamphetamine (commonly known as the drug "ice") hidden in the inner lining of the suitcase. The Anti-smuggling Bureau of customs immediately detained the man for a criminal charge of drug smuggling.

    In December 2016, the Guangzhou Intermediate Court convicted and sentenced the man and imposed the death penalty with immediate execution. Lawyers Mr. Jiang Guoyong and Ms. Chen Binqiu of our criminal defense team assisted him appealed the case to the High Court of Guangdong Province in December 2016.

    In February 2017, a collegial panel of the High Court heard the arguments of both sides from the prosecution and defense lawyers. The High Court, the appellant court in Guangdong province, revoked the first instant court's death sentence for immediate execution. The High Court substituted the death penalty with immediate execution by suspending the immediate imposition of the death penalty for two years suspension.

    The High Court completed the hearing of the appeal in just two months with a final verdict delivered contemporaneously, which was rare and efficient. Both the defendant and his family, and the defense lawyers; as well as the consulate-general of his country based in Guangzhou, were very happy and satisfied with this outcome.

    There was no significant dispute about the facts of the case between the prosecution and the defense, as the focus of the appeal was the sentencing. Defense Lawyers Jiang and Chen argued that the sentence was too severe because the first instant court did not take into account of the fact that defendant was not the 'ringleader' of the criminal syndicate. Further, that the alleged chief plotter behind the defendant's case may face charges of being the principal criminal of this smuggling gang.

    In addition, there were at least two other accomplices one of them was a foreigner while the other one was a Chinese national. It was argued that it was unfair to impose all liabilities for the penalty on the defendant. To support this argument, our defense lawyers provided 8 similar cases to the court and quoted relevant judicial interpretation.

    Further, the first instant court did not consider the circumstances that the defendant had confessed and had pleaded guilty at the trial, therefore the defendant should receive a lighter sentence. It was the first instant court's failure to take into account such circumstances had led to a severe sentencing to the defendant.

    After hearing the defense lawyers' arguments, the High Court ruled that the defense lawyers' arguments that "the defendant has shown a good attitude by confessing, and there is the possibility that there are other accomplices are still at large, therefore the defendant deserves a lighter sentence" are well established and accepted principles. Therefore the High Court resentenced the defendant by staying the death penalty by suspending the death penalty for two year's suspension.

    Our client, the young foreigner has been saved from immediate execution. Two years later, if he has not been convicted of a new crime with intent, his sentence will be commuted to 25 years imprisonment (with good behavior, he will be eligible for early release after 15 years). As his defense lawyers, in this case, we think that the High Court of Guangdong Province’s final verdict for this appeal is professional, impartial and highly efficiency. Our defense strategy in this appeal was concurred with by the High Court and successful for our client.

    || Our criminal defense team led by Lawyer Jiang Guoyong has successfully represented many foreign clients in the criminal proceedings in Chinese courts. They have been highly praised by our clients from over the world and foreign embassies and consulates in China. Mr. Jiang has an outstanding reputation in the criminal defense practice matters. Last year, Mr. Jiang was invited by the Paris Bar to visited France and exchanged experiences in criminal proceedings with the lawyers, judges, prosecutors, police officers, prison officers hosted by the Paris Bar, local courts, police departments and prison authority.

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