Coronavirus lockdown around the world is paving new ways for capital punishments, as Singapore becomes the first country where a man sentenced by court to death via a Zoom video-call.
This could be the first criminal case, in which a man in Singapore for his role in drug dealing was sentenced death via zoom video call.
Media reports said that Punithan Genasan, a 37-year-old Malaysian, received the sentence for his role in a 2011 heroin transaction.
Spokesperson for Singapore’s Supreme Court, citing restrictions imposed to minimize virus spread, said “For the safety of all involved in the proceedings, the hearing for Public Prosecutor v Punithan A/L Genasan was conducted by video-conferencing,”
Spokesperson added that It was the first criminal case where a capital punishment was pronounced by remote hearing in Singapore. Genasan’s lawyer, Peter Fernando, said his client received the judge’s verdict on a Zoom call and he is considering an appeal.
While rights groups have criticized the use of Zoom in capital cases, Fernando said he did not object to the use of video-conferencing since it was only to receive the judge’s verdict, which could be heard clearly, and no other legal arguments were presented. California-based tech firm Zoom did not immediately respond to a request for comment made via its representatives in Singapore. The Attorney General’s Chambers, the public prosecutor, referred Reuters’ questions to the Supreme Court. Let it be known that many court hearings in Singapore adjourned during a lockdown period that started in early April and is due to run until June 1, while cases deemed essential held remotely.