Thursday, May 19, 2016

MADPET CONCERNED ABOUT THE UNFAIRNESS OF THE HEARING OF APPLICATION BY KHO JABING CHALLENGING THE VALIDITY OF A COURT OF APPEAL DECISION BECAUSE JA PHANG WAS ON THAT CORAM.?



Media Statement – 19/5/2016

MADPET CONCERNED ABOUT THE UNFAIRNESS OF THE HEARING OF APPLICATION BY KHO JABING CHALLENGING THE VALIDITY OF A COURT OF APPEAL DECISION BECAUSE JA PHANG WAS ON THAT CORAM.

STAY THE EXECUTION OF KHO JABING – HAVE ANOTHER COURT OF APPEAL HEAR THE APPEAL ON SENTENCING

MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) was appalled by the fact that it was reported in the media that Andrew Phang Boon Leong JA  was in the coram on Thursday(19/5/2015) that heard the motion that was, amongst others, about  the same Andrew Phang ‘s presence in the coram of the re-sentencing Court of Appeal, where it was alleged that he should not have been in that Court of Appeal given the fact that he had previously sat on the coram of the Court of Appeal that heard the appeal on conviction in 2011. 

Channel News Asia, in their report stated that, ‘Kho’s last-minute motion ahead of his imminent execution was heard before five judges sitting in the Court of Appeal – including JA Phang, who disputed Kho’s claims of biasness.’(Channel News Asia, 19/5/2016).

Allegedly, Kho’s lawyers’ basis for the application was that   ‘…JA Phang should not have presided over Kho’s appeal on re-sentencing due to a possible conflict of interest. He added the court’s decision “might have been tainted with apparent biasness”…’. 

MADPET is of the view that in such an application, it would not have been proper for JA Phang himself to be part of the coram.  It can easily give rise to a situation that the affected judge may be pre-occupied in demonstrating that he did no wrong – hence forgetting to be simply the independent and impartial judge hearing the motion/application as it should be.

The news report also allegedly indicated that JA Phang, was not merely in Thursday’s application’s coram, but was also played an active role trying to justify that there was nothing wrong in his being in the Court of Appeal that heard the appeal from re-sentencing High Court. If so, would that now raise doubts about the fairness of that hearing on Thursday itself?

It was reported that’ JA Phang said considering Kho’s conviction and sentence were part and parcel of the court’s work. “Conviction and sentence are inextricable parts of a whole. We cannot divorce them,” he said.’

MADPET’s view is that such an argument that was allegedly advanced by  JA Phang may apply for any other ordinary criminal trial, but certainly not for this case, which resulted in a necessary review of death penalty cases for murder, and re-sentencing, which came about by exceptional reason of  the fact a  new law was enacted by the lawmakers of Singapore – the Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2012.

It must be pointed out that the new law is very specific, as to when it can be presided/heard by same Judge be it at the High Court or the Court of Appeal, who heard the trial at first instance, or original Appeals on conviction.

With regard to the judges of the Court of Appeal, one needs to refer to section 4(6) Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2012


(6)  If —
(a)….
(b) any Judge of Appeal, having heard an appeal relating to an offence of murder, is unable for any reason to affirm the sentence or remit the case back to the High Court under subsection (5),
any other Judge of the High Court or any other Judge of Appeal, respectively, may do so.

It is clear that JA Phang, who was in the coram of the Court of Appeal that considered the original appeal against conviction, should or could  have only been in the coram of the Court of Appeal that affirmed the sentence, hence deciding that the case will not be remitted back to the High Court for re-sentencing; OR in the coram of the Court of Appeal that remitted the case back to the High Court for re-sentencing.

There is no provision in the Act that allows for JA Phang to sit in the coram of the Court of Appeal that hears  an appeal on the decision of re-sentencing High Court.

MADPET, is of the opinion that when an Act of Parliament specifically provides for when exactly a judge in Court of Appeal that considered the original appeal on conviction could sit, it is reasonable to state that Parliament never intended JA Phang to sit in the coram of the Court of Appeal that heard the appeal from the re-sentencing High Court’s decision, or any other applications to the Court of Appeal by Kho Jabing. If he could, it would reasonably been provided for in the Act.

It is certainly unsafe to discuss and provide an opinion based on a news report, but given the fact that Kho Jabing may be executed  in a few hours, in the interest of justice, MADPET believes we have duty to raise now these relevant points we consider relevant  – which, if correct, may render the decision to reject this recent application of Kho Jabing  this Thursday(19/5/2016) possibly wrong in law. No one wants a man to be hanged to death wrongly because of a mistake or an error in law.

MADPET applauds Singapore decision to return sentencing discretion to judges for murder, by the enactment of Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2012.

Of concern, is the fact that the prosecution and the accused, never had the opportunity to adduce evidence and make submissions relevant to this new law during trial, and this is a fact that has been acknowledged and/or is obvious from the Kho Jabing judgments. We see that it is an onerous, nay impossible, task that the judges in the Kho Jabing’s  re-sentencing High Court, and the Court of Appeal that heard the appeal, had to go through in determining whether there was sufficient evidence to maintain the death penalty, or commute the sentence to imprisonment and caning.

As such, it would be reasonable and just for Singapore to commute the sentences of all those currently on death row for murder. Alternatively, the only other way is to have a re-trial of all these cases.

MADPET urges Attorney General/Public Prosecutor to consider the points we make here, do the needful, and immediately stay the execution of Kho Jabing and/or any others on death row for murder.

MADPET urges Singapore to immediately commute the sentence of all those on death row for murder, including Kho Jabing.

MADPET urges Singapore to abolish the death penalty.

Charles Hector
For and on behalf of
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Malaysia: Seramai 1,041 Banduan Tunggu Hukuman Mati (BenarNews)

See related post:- MALAYSIA - 1,041 on Death Row - Government Undecided on Abolition of Death Penalty

In the BenarNews report, in Bahasa Malaysia, Charles Hector on behalf of ADPAN, also of MADPET, reiterated that the death penalty need to be abolished, and the sentence of those on death row need to be commuted to imprisonment.  He also said that the mandatory death penalty need to abolished, and discretion must be returned to judges when it comes to sentencing. Also stated that the number on death row in Malaysia is very high, and even in the US, the numbers are around 2,000 plus. The BenarNews report follows...

 

Malaysia: Seramai 1,041 Banduan Tunggu Hukuman Mati

Hata Wahari
2016-05-17 - Kuala Lumpur
 
160517-my-death-penalty-620
Tiga lelaki yang bersaudara warga Mexico, seorang warga Singapura manakala seorang lagi rakyat tempatan, yang sedang berdepan dengan hukuman mati kerana mengedar dadah, tiba di bangunan Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur semasa kes mereka didengar mahkamah itu, 8 Februari 2012.
AFP 
 
Malaysia pada Selasa berkata seramai 1,041 banduan sedang menghadapi hukuman mati di negara itu, dengan tiada keputusan dari kerajaan sama ada hukuman berkenaan akan dimansuhkan, kata Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri yang menjaga hal ehwal undang-undang Nancy Shukri di persidangan Dewan Rakyat.

Beliau berkata, statistik daripada Jabatan Penjara Malaysia sehingga 16 Mei mendapati jumlah itu melibatkan kesalahan membunuh, pengedaran dadah, senjata api dan penculikan.

“Tiada sebarang keputusan dibuat berhubung cadangan memansuhkan hukuman mati mandatori itu sehingga kini kerana Pejabat Peguam Negara masih menjalankan pelbagai skop kajian secara terperinci yang melibatkan mengenai perundangan, dasar dan keberkesanannya,” kata beliau menjawab soalan bertulis ahli Parlimen Bukti Gelugor, dari Parti Tindakan Demokratik (DAP) Ramkarpal Singh pada Selasa.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, sehingga kini hukuman mati belum dijalankan memandangkan kes-kes tersebut masih menunggu rayuan di mahkamah dan lembaga pengampunan di negeri masing-masing.

November lepas, Nancy berkata, kerajaan bercadang mengemukakan Rang Undang-Undang untuk menghapuskan hukuman mati mandatori ke atas beberapa jenayah berat terutamanya berkaitan kesalahan dadah dan pemilikan senjata api di persidangan Dewan Rakyat penggal ini

Beliau berkata, kerajaan berminat untuk menghapuskan hukuman mati mandatori seperti yang telah dibuat di negara lain dan perbincangan dengan wakil dari beberapa negara juga telah diadakan.

"Saya sudah berbincang dengan Peguam Negara dan beliau begitu menyokong dan saya sedar ia agak sukar untuk Malaysia...tetapi saya berharap ia dapat dilakukan dengan segera," kata Nancy seperti dilaporkan agensi Berita Nasional Malaysia (Bernama) pada November lepas.

Media tempatan Malaysia pada Mei tahun lepas, melaporkan Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Penjara Malaysia, Zulkifli Omar sebagai berkata, lebih 51,000 banduan berada di beberapa penjara di seluruh Malaysia.

‘Penjara seumur hidup’

Charles Hector dari Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) yang memperjuangkan penghapusan hukuman mati mandatori memberitahu BeritaBenar bahawa hukuman itu perlu dimansuhkan dan semua banduan yang menghadapi hukuman mati itu, sepatutnya diringankan hukuman kepada penjara seumur hidup.

“Hukuman mati mandatori yang telah ditetapkan dalam undang-undang menyebabkan hakim-hakim di Malaysia tidak mempunyai piihan tetapi terpaksa memutuskan atau menjatuhkan hukuman mati.

Charles turut memberi contoh bahawa Amerika Syarikat (AS) yang mempunyai lebih 200 juta [terkini - 320 juta] penduduk tetapi hanya mempunyai 2,000 orang yang menunggu hukuman mati.

“Tetapi di Malaysia yang hanya mempunyai penduduk 27 juta orang, jumlah yang menanti hukuman mati adalah lebih 1,000 orang dan ini amat memeranjatkan,” katanya.

‘Parlimen perlu tentukan’

Manakala, pakar undang-undang Profesor Dr Abdul  Aziz Bari  yang kini berkhidmat di Universiti  Selangor (UNISEL) dalam reaksinya kepada BeritaBenar menegaskan bahawa persoalan sama ada hukuman mati mandatori perlu dihapuskan hanya boleh disuarakan di Parlimen kerana ia merupakan dewan tertinggi yang meluluskan semua undang-undang Malaysia.

“Ia adalah ketetapan yang telah dinyatakan oleh perlembagaan yang meletakkan kuasa jenayah di tangan parlimen dan soal menggantikan hukuman itu kepada hukuman penjara seumur hidup juga perlu diputuskan oleh Parlimen,’’ katanya kepada BeritaBenar pada Selasa.

“Apakah hukuman mati perlu dikekalkan ialah soal politik dan falsafah, bukannya soal undang-undang, Ia ditentukan oleh anutan dan ideologi yang dominan dalam sesuatu masyarakat itu,” kata Aziz. - BenarNews, 17/5/2016

MALAYSIA - 1,041 on Death Row - Government Undecided on Abolition of Death Penalty

1,041 on death row in Malaysia, and now the de facto Minister says that the government is yet to take a decision on the abolition of the death penalty. 

Well, previously the Minister did say that the proposed legislation to abolish the Death Penalty will be tabled in the Malaysian Parliament during the March session - well, March has come and gone...

End of Malaysia’s mandatory death sentence on the horizon(Malay Mail, 17/11/2015)



Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Nancy: 1,041 on death row, no decision yet on abolishment

Some 1,041 inmates are on death row with no decision yet on whether the Government will abolish the punishment.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri said no decision had been made on the Government’s policy on death sentences.

“As of May 16, statistics from the Prisons Department show that there are 1,041 inmates on death row for mandatory death sentences for murder, drug trafficking, unlawful possession of firearms and kidnapping.

“However, the sentences have not been carried out as the cases are still pending appeals with the courts and respective state pardon boards,” she said in a written reply to Ramkarpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor).

Ramkarpal wanted to know if the morato­rium on mandatory death sentences was in effect following proposals to abolish the pu­nishment.

Nancy added no decision was forthcoming at the moment as an in-depth study was being carried out on the matter.

“The Government is working with the Attorney-General who is carrying out a detailed study on the law, policy and effectiveness of the mandatory death sentence,” she said.

Meanwhile Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said the Govern­ment had not made a decision on the review of the passenger service charges.

The review for the charges, conducted every five years, was requested by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).

“As an airport operator, MAHB has applied for the charges to be revised. But the final decision will be taken by the Government and we have not decided,” he said in reply to a question from Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan (PAS-Kota Baru).- Star, 18/5/2016

Sunday, May 15, 2016

MADPET:- QUESTIONABLE VALIDITY OF THE COURT OF APPEAL THAT RE-SENTENCED KHO JABING TO DEATH REASON ENOUGH FOR IMMEDIATE STAY OF EXECUTION OF KHO JABING, NOW SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY 20/5/2016



Media Statement – 15/5/2016

QUESTIONABLE VALIDITY OF THE COURT OF APPEAL THAT RE-SENTENCED KHO JABING TO DEATH REASON ENOUGH FOR IMMEDIATE STAY OF EXECUTION OF KHO JABING, NOW SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY 20/5/2016
-        JUSTICE MUST NOT ONLY BE DONE BUT SEEN TO BE DONE -

MADPET is worried that Kho Jabing may be executed based on a possibly tainted or invalid Court of Appeal judgment, which reversed the High Court decision that commuted the death sentence to imprisonment and caning. 

COURT OF APPEAL JUDGMENT TAINTED AND/OR VOID

Having perused the relevant judgments, MADPET discovered that one of the 5 judges, who reportedly sat in the coram of this Court of Appeal (Criminal Appeal No 6 of 2013) that send Kho Jabing to the gallows again, also did sit as judge in an earlier court case concerning Kho Jabing, being Criminal Appeal No 18 of 2010. The coram in the 2013 case was Chao Hick Tin JA, Andrew Phang Boon Leong JA, Woo Bih Li J, Lee Seiu Kin J and Chan Seng Onn J, whilst the coram for the 2010 case was Chan Sek Keong CJ, Andrew Phang Boon Leong JA and V K Rajah JA, and as can be seen Andrew Phang Boon Leong JA was in the coram of both Appeals.

Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, ‘Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.’ This necessarily implies that the judges must be independent, impartial and unbiased, and as such a judge who had previously heard and determined a case involving the same accused person reasonably would not satisfy these important conditions, more so when the earlier Appeal in which Andrew Phang Boon Leong JA was involved in was also the appeal against conviction for the very same offence.

As such, Andrew Phang Boon Leong JA should never have been included in the coram of the Court of Appeal that heard the appeal by the prosecution against the decision of the High Court that re-sentenced Kho Jabing to imprisonment and caning. Even, if Andrew Phang was appointed, the said Judge should have appropriately recused himself on the basis that he was previously involved in a case involving Kho Jabing. The relevant Court of Appeal judgment, which is available to the public, never disclosed, that this point was even considered by that Court. We recall the important principle that "justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done".

The presence of Andrew Phang in the coram of the Court of Appeal, that overturned the re-sentencing High Court’s decision, and re-sentenced Kho Jabing to death, would possibly make that entire judgment invalid or ‘void’, and thus restoring the High Court judgment that commuted the death sentence to imprisonment. 

Alternatively, even if Andrew Phang’s vote is not to be taken into consideration, the  result would be a 2-2 decision, and as such again, the prosecution’s Appeal would have failed, and the High Court’s decision will not have been overturned, and Kho Jabing would be facing imprisonment and caning – not death.

PREJUDICED WHEN RE-SENTENCING HIGH COURT JUDGE WAS DIFFERENT

Another concern with regard the Kho Jabing’s case, was that when the case was sent to the High Court for re-sentencing, the judge that heard and considered the re-sentencing was not the High Court judge that originally heard and convicted Kho Jabing. 

Singapore Parliament, wisely appreciated the importance that it be the same judge, possibly because that judge may have recalled elements in the trial, including demeanour, which at the end of the day can never be properly or comprehensively captured in any Notes of Evidence/Proceedings and/or Judgments. In the Kho Jabing’s case, the original trial judge had retired, and hence another judge heard the re-sentencing case. This fact, in itself, was most prejudicial to Kho Jabing.

Further, even if the re-sentencing judge had been the same judge, noting the lapse of time plus the fact the many other cases would have come before the same judge, the question would be whether it was even reasonably possible for the original judge in the Court of First Instance to effectively recall from memory aspects of the said case that was not fully and clearly stated in his/her written records. 

RE-TRIAL NEEDED AFTER AMENDMENT TO ENSURE JUSTICE

Justice demands that, unless there is a re-trial, the death sentence of Kho Jabing and all others before the amendment came into force should now be commuted. The risk of miscarriage of justice, especially in cases where the death sentence is retained, is just too high to be acceptable. 

We see from the re-sentencing judgments of both the High Court, and the Court of Appeal, the struggle the judges concerned had to undergo in order to establish relevant facts that have now become relevant following the amendment, that were really not relevant or not as relevant before the coming into force of the new amendments.  
  
Re-sentencing was needed, after Singapore amended the law concerning murder vide Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2012 (Act 32 of 2012), which effectively resulted in the ‘repeal and re-enactment of section 302’. The law before the amendment provided only the mandatory death penalty for murder (section 302). Now after the amendment came into effect, not only was there now discretion of the court with regard sentencing – death penalty or imprisonment with caning, but also a consideration of other matters including mental capacity. 

As such, reasonably re-sentencing simply based on the evidence adduced and submissions made in the original trial is not possible and most dangerous – there should rightly be a new trial or re-trial. 

The presentation of the case, be it by the prosecution and/or the defence, would reasonably be very different following the amendments. This was a concern, which was also acknowledged and/or admitted by the Court of Appeal that heard the re-sentencing Appeal, which amongst others said, ‘Admittedly, as that court [referring to Court of First Instance] was dealing with the pre-amendment position, there was no reason for it to assess the savagery (or otherwise) of the Respondent’s actions; put simply, it was merely making its findings of fact based on the evidence and submissions raised by the counsel concerned’. As such, the only remedy to ensure that justice is really done is a re-trial or a new trial, not merely a ‘re-sentencing’ exercise. In light of the amendment, a new trial is needed to ensure relevant evidence and submissions are before the court.

As such, in the absence of a re-trial or new trial, MADPET calls for the commutation of the death sentence of Kho Jabing and all others currently on death row in Singapore for murder.

The Singapore government, President, Attorney General/Public Prosecutor and/or the Judiciary can and must take note of these serious concerns, irrespective of whether there is any application in court by Kho Jabing, and immediately stay the planned execution of Kho Jabing in the interest of justice. 

MADPET, in light of the matters raised above, amongst others, the questionable validity of Court of Appeal that reversed the High Court decision and re-sentenced Kho Jabing to death, call for an immediate stay of execution of Kho Jabing, which is now allegedly scheduled for this coming Friday(20/5/2016).

MADPET also urges Singapore to adhere to the 5 United Nations General Assembly Resolutions, the first being in 2007 and the fifth being on 2014, whereby the support has obviously grown over the years, calling for the abolition of the death penalty, and for a moratorium pending abolition. 

Charles Hector
For and on behalf of
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

Relevant Posts:-

Kho Jabing and another v Public Prosecutor [2011] SGCA 24 - Criminal Appeal No 18 of 2010

Public Prosecutor v Kho Jabing [2015] SGCA 1 - Criminal Appeal No 6 of 2013




Saturday, May 14, 2016

MADPET and other groups call for Kho Jabings's life to be spared - a Joint Statement 14/5/2016

Kho Jabing

Joint statement on imminent execution of Kho Jabing

We, the undersigned, are troubled by the imminent execution of Jabing Kho in Singapore, despite strong concerns over the development of his case. We believe there are strong grounds for President Tony Tan of the Republic of Singapore to grant clemency in this case.

The family of Sarawakian Jabing Kho, 31, received a letter from the Singapore Prison Service on 12 May 2016 informing them that his execution had been scheduled for 20 May 2016. Jabing was convicted of murder in 2011.

The announcement came as a shock to the family and all involved in campaigning for Jabing. We had been under the impression that the authorities would allow his lawyer to submit a fresh clemency appeal on his behalf after the criminal motion filed in late 2015 was dismissed in April this year. His lawyer had sent President Tony Tan a holding letter informing them of his intention to file a new clemency petition, and had been in the process of drafting it when the execution was scheduled.

On 13 May 2016, Jabing’s lawyer received a letter from the President saying that he would be willing to consider a clemency petition if it is filed, but will not be postponing the scheduled execution. Considering that past practice shows that the President usually takes three months before any decision regarding clemency is announced, we are concerned that this current state of affairs will leave the Cabinet and the President with insufficient time to properly consider a fresh plea from Jabing.

We do not condone Jabing’s crime, nor do we seek to erase the hurt he has caused to the victim’s family. Yet the course of Jabing’s case has been tumultuous and traumatic. Due to amendments made to Singapore’s mandatory death penalty regime and appeals lodged by the prosecution, Jabing had, over the years, been sentenced to death, then life imprisonment (with caning), then death again. This back-and-forth has taken a horrific toll not just on Jabing as the inmate, but his family.

Furthermore, one High Court judge and two Judges of Appeal had not believed that the death penalty was an appropriate punishment for Jabing Kho, as they felt that there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that he had exhibited a “blatant disregard for human life”. (See Annex A, attached at the end of this statement, for relevant excerpts of the judges’ ruling.)

The death penalty does not simply exact an irreversible punishment, but also imposes emotional and psychological tolls on both the inmate and the family and we oppose it unconditionally. Having been re-sentenced twice, from death to life and back again, Jabing and his family have already been put through a deeply painful process. The knowledge that three respected and honourable judges hold the belief that the current punishment does not fit the crime simply makes the situation doubly hard to bear.

We believe that Jabing Kho’s case presents very strong and persuasive grounds for clemency, and that his death sentence should be immediately be set aside and commuted to life imprisonment as allowed by Singapore’s Constitution.

We therefore urge the Cabinet of Singapore to advise President Tony Tan to grant clemency to Jabing Kho without delay and re-establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards the abolition of the death penalty.

Signed:
Local Organisations
Community Action Network
Function8
Maruah
Sayoni
Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC)
Think Centre
We Believe in Second Chances

Regional/International Organisations
Advocates Association of Sarawak
Amnesty International
Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN)
Center for Orang Asli Concerns
Center for Prisoner’s Rights Japan
Civil Rights Committee KLSCAH
Damn the Dams
Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
People’s Green Coalition
Reprieve Australia
Sembang-sembang Forum
Suara Rakyat Malaysia
Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP)
The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence

Victims’ Family Organisations
Journey of Hope
Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights
Ocean
Individuals
Abdul Rashid bin Bakar, relative of inmate on death row in Singapore
Atiqah bte Zaimi, relative of inmate on death row in Singapore
Haminah bte Abu Bakar, relative of inmate on death row in Singapore
Idros Ismail, brother of inmate on death row in Singapore
Jolene Tan, writer and activist
Kokila Annamalai, activist and community organiser
Letchumy Arumugam, mother of inmate on death row in Singapore
Marilyn Siew, activist
Mervin Mikhail
M Ravi, anti-death penalty activist
Osman bin Bakar, relative of inmate on death row in Singapore
Priya Ratha Krishnan, fiancée of inmate on death row in Singapore
Sangeetha Thanapal, activist
Saraswathy Kataiah, sister of inmate on death row in Singapore
Sean Francis Han, activist
Sharmila Rockey, sister of inmate on death row in Singapore
Syida Ismail, sister of inmate on death row in Singapore
Tan Tee Seng, activist
Vanessa Ho, activist
Zaimi Bin Abdul Rahman, relative of inmate on death row in Singapore
Zarah bte Abu Bakar, relative of inmate on death row in Singapore


MEDIA CONTACT:
Kirsten Han, We Believe in Second Chances
kirsten@secondchances.asia
Rachel Zeng, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign
rachelabsinthe@gmail.com


ANNEX A

Comments from judges on Kho Jabing’s case
Justice Tay Yong Kwang, High Court, 2013:

After considering all the factors put forward by the parties, I am of the view that the death penalty is not the appropriate sentence for the convicted person for the following reasons:

(a) He was relatively young at 24 at the time of the offence in 2008…

(b) The convicted person’s choice and use of the piece of wood during the attack were, in the words of the Court of Appeal, “opportunistic and improvisational” and not part of a pre-arranged plan. Equally so was Galing’s use of his belt as a weapon;

(c) There was no clear sequence of events concerning the attack. There was no clear evidence that the convicted person went after the deceased from behind without warning and started hitting him on the head with the piece of wood. There was evidence that a struggle could have taken place first between Galing and the deceased before the convicted person stopped chasing Wu Jun and returned to assault the deceased.”

Justice Lee Seiu Kin, Court of Appeal, January 2015:

“…there is insufficient evidence to conclude beyond reasonable doubt that Jabing had caused most of the fractures (either by multiple strikes or by two strikes with huge force).

…the evidence could only prove beyond reasonable doubt that Jabing had struck the deceased on the head twice. There is also doubt as to whether those two blows were the cause of most of the extensive injuries found in the skull, as opposed to causing it to fracture and resulting in death.”

“Based on the evidence that I have shown to be proven beyond reasonable doubt, I am of the view that the threshold is not crossed. Jabing, along with Galing, had intended to rob the deceased and his companion, Wu Jun. Jabing had approached the deceased from behind and struck him with two wicked blows to the head with the intention, at the very minimum, to incapacitate him. But he had stopped after that. It was not a case in which he had repeatedly hit the deceased after he was down, which would justify the conclusion that he had acted with viciousness and blatant disregard for human life. I must therefore, with the greatest of respect, disagree with the decision of the majority of this court to allow the appeal of the Public Prosecutor.”

Justice Woo Bih Li, Court of Appeal, January 2015:

“In the circumstances, and even though Jabing’s blows would have been of considerable force, it is in my view unsafe to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted in a way which exhibited a blatant disregard for human life. I would therefore dismiss the Prosecution’s appeal for capital punishment for Jabing.”