Convicted murderer escapes the gallows, second such case in Singapore

A 29-year-old Malaysian man who bashed a Chinese national to death while robbing him has become the second convicted murderer here to be sentenced to life imprisonment instead of the death penalty.

He was also given 24 strokes of the cane.

Jabing Kho's case had been sent back to the High Court for re-sentencing following changes to the law this year which give judges the option of handing down a life imprisonment for certain categories of murder. He had been convicted in 2010 and his appeal dismissed in 2011.

In delivering the sentence on Wednesday, Justice Tay Yong Kwang noted that Kho was relatively young at 24 when he committed the crime, and had improvised the weapon - a tree branch - during the robbery. He added that in applying the new discretion, neither life nor death should be the default punishment, and that each case should be decided on its own facts.

Kho was among some 30 condemned prisoners given a lifeline when hangings were put on hold pending a review of the mandatory death penalty which started in July 2011. These other cases are still pending.