Judge tells DPP: 10 years too excessive
Man in $1.3m forgery case has renal failure
Calling it "manifestly excessive", a district judge yesterday refused to sign off on a 10-year corrective sentence in a forgery case.
Instead, District Judge Low Wee Ping told the prosecution to consider judicial mercy in the case of Lim Jit Kiat.
Lim, 42, who suffers from end-stage renal failure, had previously admitted to forging a POSB cheque for $1.3 million to pay for a male prostitute in May 2014.
He had agreed to pay $1.2 million if the prostitute agreed to be caned and burned by cigarettes. (See other report.)
Judge Low told the prosecutor: "I would hesitate to give it (the 10-year corrective training) unless you convince me."
Corrective training is a prison regime for repeat offenders without the usual one-third remission for good behaviour.
In arguing his sentencing recommendations, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Zhongshan cited Lim's previous criminal record for cheating and forgery, saying that Lim has a "clear propensity for serious property-related offences".
Lim's defence lawyer, Mr Timothy Ng, said his client does not have the "physical propensity to re-offend", given his medical condition.
Mr Ng urged the court to invoke judicial mercy by sentencing Lim, the sole provider for his elderly father, to four weeks' jail.
Lim, who is undergoing dialysis treatment, was also diagnosed with sexual sadism disorder.
In his mitigation, Mr Ng said that even with dialysis, medication and lifestyle modifications, Lim's prognosis is still worse than the general populace.
Said Mr Ng: "... It is suggested that a patient with end-stage renal failure on dialysis would only have a life expectancy of about five years."
Hecited a report from the Singapore General Hospital, which quoted a 2009 report from the United States Renal Data System.
DPP Tan said: "Medical condition is not a factor... and does not qualify for judicial mercy.
"The onus is on the defence to provide evidence on the life expectancy."
An offender can be granted judicial mercy in exceptional cases such as when he is suffering from a terminal illness.
The prosecutor assured the court several times that Lim's medical needs would be taken care of during his incarceration.
Despite this, the district judge stood his ground.
For forgery, Lim faces up to 15 years' jail and a fine.
His next mention is on June 30.
About the case
On May 16, 2014, Lim Jit Kiat, a waiter, posted an advertisement online for men aged between 18 and 45 and willing to provide "special services" to male clients.
A 28-year-old Chinese national, who cannot be named due to a gag order, responded.
Pretending to be a rich Korean, Lim met the victim the next day in Geylang. The pair checked into a budget hotel in Lavender Street.
Lim was willing to pay $1.2 million if the victim agreed to be caned and burned by cigarettes. The victim would also be offered a bonus if his "performance was good".
The victim agreed.
Lim later wrote him a cheque for $1.3 million using a stolen POSB cheque book belonging to Lim's father.
But when the younger man tried to encash the cheque the next day, he was arrested as the signature on the cheque did not match the specimen signature in the bank's records.
Lim was subsequently arrested.