Ailing man dies before sentencing for forgery

Lim Jit Kiat was to have been sentenced yesterday for forging a POSB cheque for $1.36 million, with the intention of passing it off as a cheque signed by his father, the authorised signatory.
Lim Jit Kiat was to have been sentenced yesterday for forging a POSB cheque for $1.36 million, with the intention of passing it off as a cheque signed by his father, the authorised signatory.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A man who had asked to be granted judicial mercy died last month, before he was told what sentence he would get.

Lim Jit Kiat, who had forged a cheque and posed as a Korean client to get a male prostitute to perform bizarre acts, was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure when he pleaded guilty last year.

District Judge Low Wee Ping said the 44-year-old "provided us his ultimate rebuttal testimony. He passed away. At least he was on bail for the last 1 1/2 years. May he rest in peace".

The prosecution had pushed for a 10-year term of corrective training last year, citing his long criminal record. Corrective training is a harsher form of punishment where the offender is not eligible for early release, even for good behaviour.

Lim had served 10 years' corrective training previously, for a number of cheating offences. But when he pleaded guilty in June last year, doctors gave him about five years to live, his lawyer Timothy Ng told the court.

Judicial mercy is usually granted in exceptional cases, such as when an offender is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Lim was to have been sentenced yesterday for forging a POSB cheque for $1.36 million on May 18, 2014, with the intention of passing it off as a cheque signed by his father, the authorised signatory.

Two other charges were taken into consideration - for the theft of a chequebook, and a cheating charge of making the prostitute, a 28-year-old Chinese national, believe that Lim would pay him $1.2 million if the prostitute allowed himself to get caned and be burnt with cigarettes.

The case closed after Lim's death last month, on Oct 25 - five days after the end of a special hearing to see if Lim should be granted judicial mercy, and whether the prison authorities would be able to cope with his medical condition.

Despite the prosecution's assurance that the authorities could manage Lim's condition, a judge was reluctant to sentence Lim to corrective training last year, and said the 10-year term was "manifestly excessive".

Mr Ng, at an earlier hearing, had argued that four weeks' jail would be appropriate punishment for Lim, who had been diagnosed with sexual sadism disorder. He said: "Fate has dealt him a cruel hand."

Mr Ng said he found out that Lim had died a few days after his death. He then asked Lim's father to bring the death certificate to his law firm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2017, with the headline 'Ailing man dies before sentencing for forgery'. Print Edition | Subscribe