Client does not deserve death penalty
The cases of two Sarawakians involved in a deadly robbery spree in May 2010 were heard in the Court of Appeal yesterday. ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF (firstname.lastname@example.org) summarises the arguments presented by all parties.
Sarawakian Tony was sentenced to life in prison and caning for his role in the murder-robbery of Indian national Shanmuganathan Dillidurai
But following Imba's sentencing in April last year, the prosecution appealed by asking for the death penalty.
Yesterday, defence lawyer Amarick Gill told the Court of Appeal that his client, Imba, does not deserve the death penalty.
Mr Gill said High Court Justice Choo Han Teck's ruling was correct because Imba, now 37, did not inflict the fatal blows to Mr Shanmuganathan, 41.
He added: "The learned trial judge was right. Tony never wielded the parang."
Mr Shanmuganathan was cycling when he was ambushed by his attackers.
It was Imba who had kicked Mr Shanmuganathan, a construction worker, off his bicycle.
Imba had previously testified that compatriot Micheal Garing had inflicted the wounds on Mr Shanmuganathan between 12.13am on May 29 and 7.34am on May 30 at an open field near Kallang Road.
At least 20 wounds were found on Mr Shanmuganathan's body after he was slashed with a parang during the robbery.
Another three people, who were viciously attacked earlier that night, survived their injuries.
Mr Gill added that his client's role was only that of a "starter" to the attacks, hence his sentence should not be the same as Garing, who had been sentenced to death.
He argued that Imba's "culpability is significantly less than Micheal's".
But Public Prosecutor Anandan Bala painted a different picture.
He told the Court of Appeal yesterday: "When Tony decided to embark on the final attack (on Mr Shanmuganathan), he had seen what Micheal had done earlier. He (Imba) was one mind with Micheal."
Prosecution witness Hairee Landak, who had participated in the attacks and was sentenced to 33 years and 24 strokes of the cane, had previously testified seeing Imba restraining Mr Shanmuganathan during the attack.
But yesterday, Mr Gill described Hairee's testimony as "inconsistent", adding that co-accused Garing also did not mention Imba restraining the deceased.
One would expect to see a great deal of blood on Imba's clothing if that was the case, Mr Gill told the court. But when Imba was arrested a few days later, only some blood and DNA were found on his shoes and belt.
The lawyer also pointed out that if Imba was restraining the deceased, he would have sustained "friendly fire" from Garing's parang strikes, which he did not.
'Accused struck victim only twice with parang'
Micheal Garing Micheal Garing was sentenced to death last April for the murder of Indian national Shanmuganathan Dillidurai. PHOTO: ST FILE
His client faces the death penalty.
Sarawakian Micheal Garing was sentenced to death last April for the murder of Indian national Shanmuganathan Dillidurai.
But defence lawyer Ramesh Tiwary urged the Court of Appeal yesterday to remit the case in order to reconsider the decision.
Mr Tiwary had disagreed his client had inflicted all the fatal injuries on Mr Shanmuganathan.
He also said that in sentencing Garing for the group's final attack of the night, the trial judge had taken into account the other offences that had occurred in the earlier attacks.
Mr Tiwary maintained Garing had struck the deceased twice with the parang - once hitting Mr Shanmuganathan's back and the other hitting his left arm.
The lawyer said it was Tony Imba who had taken the parang from Garing and "went back" to the deceased, who was left on a grass patch in the dark, open field.
Mr Tiwary said: "When my client walked away, the deceased was still with Tony. Why Tony took the parang and went back, he (Garing) would never know the reason."
But the prosecution said it was satisfied by the eyewitness account of Hairee Landak, one of the four Sarawakians in the attacks.
Public Prosecutor Anandan Bala told the court yesterday: "It's clear the deceased had been restrained by Tony and blows were rained by Micheal."
Mr Bala later said that if Garing's evidence is to be believed, that Tony "took the parang and went back", then this would be something Landak would have observed.
But Landak, who was sentenced earlier on to 33 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane, did not.
Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang took issue with Mr Tiwary's explanation that the parang attack on Mr Shanmuganathan had occurred in two stages.
The judge said: "It just doesn't gel that Tony, for no apparent reason, took the parang and went back to inflict the wounds."
Mr Tiwary had also questioned prosecution witness Landak's testimony, calling it "simply impossible".
Landak testified that he had seen Imba restraining Mr Shanmuganathan as the latter was being questioned and attacked.
Like Imba's lawyer, Mr Amarick Gill, Mr Tiwary said if that had happened, Imba would also have been slashed and injured.
ABOUT THE CASE
Micheal Garing and Tony Imba were part of a gang of four that killed a man and injured three others in May 2010. The fourth robber, Donny Meluda, remains at large.
Before murdering Indian national Shanmuganathan Dillidurai, 41, they robbed and slashed three other men - Mr Ang Jun Heng, 22, Mr Sandeep Singh, 27, and Mr Egan Karuppaiah, 42 - between 11pm on May 29 and 7.35am the next day at an open field near Kallang Road.
Mr Sandeep was hit on the head with a brick and slashed, Mr Ang had half of his left palm chopped off and Mr Egan had parts of his fingers sliced off.
Mr Shanmuganathan had a skull fracture, a slash on his neck that severed his jugular vein, a wound in his back so deep that his shoulder blade was cracked, and a severed hand.