EDS: Adds details of possible appeal in final pars
By Karlis Salna and Rebecca Le May
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 AAP - A Perth man acquitted in Malaysia on drug-trafficking charges won't be home in time for dinner as hoped because his legal team is still scrambling to secure his visa.
Dominic Bird, 33, was taken into custody in Kuala Lumpur on March 1 last year, accused of supplying an undercover policeman with 167 grams of methamphetamine.
The possession of more than 50 grams carries a mandatory death penalty in Malaysia.
On Wednesday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court found him not guilty, with Justice Kamardin Hashim saying the prosecution had failed to prove its case and the defence had raised reasonable doubt.
The swift verdict was a surprise because only closing submissions were expected.
However Mr Bird hasn't been able to return home because his visa expired while he was in prison.
His lawyer, Tania Scivetti, has been working furiously to arrange a new visa since 9am (1100 AEST), and had earlier in the day said she hoped he would return to Perth "before dinner".
But at about 4pm (1800 AEST), she said the matter was still unresolved.
If her client was not able to catch a plane on Thursday night, it was hoped he would be home within days, Ms Scivetti said.
"We are waiting for a reply from the immigration department," she told AAP.
"Once we receive a reply - I'm hoping it's going to be a favourable reply, and I don't see why it wouldn't be a favourable reply - then he'll be back on the next plane back to Perth.
"We've sent a letter to immigration informing them that there was no offence committed by our client on the basis that when he entered Malaysia, he had a valid visa and the reason why his visa has since expired is because of his detention.
"On that basis they should ... do what they've got to do so he can exit the country."
It's understood Mr Bird is not being held behind bars.
"They shouldn't be holding him for much longer, but we have to await the decision," Ms Scivetti said.
The defence team, led by barrister Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, argued during the trial Mr Bird had been set up by Inspector Luther Nurjib - the prosecution's star witness - who was last week found guilty of contempt of court for threatening and attempting to bribe another witness.
Insp Nurjib could face further charges.
If the prosecution wants to appeal the verdict, it would need to do so by September 14.
"We are still considering whether or not to appeal," prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib told AAP.
"We have 10 days to decide."