Another drug convict acquitted due to mishandled evidence

The Supreme Court (SC) has acquitted a man convicted on drug charges in 2017 as it again reminded apprehending officers to ensure that evidence obtained in operations must be marked on-site.

In an 11-page resolution uploaded December 27, the SC Second Division acquitted Kenneth Chan and reversed the Court of Appeals ruling.

Chan was arrested on Dec. 6, 2016 in Barangay Poblacion, Bugallon, Pangasinan for selling .030 grams of shabu for PHP300 to undercover policemen.

He was convicted on July 6, 2017 by the Lingayen Regional Trial Court.

The SC noted a deviation by policemen handling evidence as the illegal drugs were marked at the police station instead of at the place of arrest.

“There was no account of danger or threat to the safety of the officers and the community if the marking was done at the place of arrest,” the SC stated, adding that members of the buy-bust team were not threatened at the time of the incident.

The SC did not accept the cops’ explanation that they opted to do the marking of the seized item at the police station because several people converged at the crime scene.

“Marking (of evidence) is the first and most crucial step in the chain of custody rules as it initiates the process of protecting innocent persons from dubious and concocted searches, and of protecting as well the apprehending officers from harassment suits based on planting of evidence,” the SC ruled.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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