SINGAPORE - The Court of Appeal on Monday (Feb 27) upheld the respective sentences handed down to two Sarawakians who were convicted of a brutal murder in the 2010 Kallang slashings.
Micheal Garing, 28, who had wielded the murder weapon, a 58cm-long parang, was given the death penalty, while Tony Imba, 38, was sentenced to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane.
The pair were part of a gang that had gone on a late-night robbery spree in the Kallang area in May 2010, severely injuring three victims and killing a fourth.
Micheal and Tony were convicted by the High Court in 2014 for the murder of 41-year-old construction worker Shanmuganathan Dillidurai.
The prosecution appealed against Tony's sentence of life imprisonment and caning, arguing that he should also be sentenced to death. Micheal appealed against his conviction and sentence.
On Monday, a three-judge appeal court - comprising Judges of Appeal Chao Hick Tin, Andrew Phang and Judith Prakash - dismissed both appeals.
The court accepted that Micheal had used the parang to attack the construction worker, an Indian national. The "sheer brutality" of his attack warrants the imposition of the death penalty as he had shown a blatant disregard for human life, said the court.
"It seems to us that (Micheal) attacked the deceased in a totally savage and merciless manner as though he were attacking a hunted prey," said Justice Chao, delivering the court's decision.
In his "vicious, savage and sustained onslaught", Micheal had struck the top of the victim's head with such force that his skull cracked and had slit the victim's throat, he noted.
Turning to Tony's role in the attack, the court said it was not disputed that he had initiated the attack by knocking the deceased off his bicycle. However, Justice Chao said the court was not satisfied that Tony had held on to the deceased for a significant period of time long enough for Micheal to inflict the fatal injuries.
The verdict was originally scheduled to be delivered last month but the court agreed to defer delivery of its judgment on the request of defence lawyers acting for the pair.
The lawyers, Mr Ramesh Tiwary and Mr Amarick Gill, had wanted to interview Donny Meluda, who was handed to Singapore police on Jan 18. Now going by the name of Abdul Rahman Abdullah, he has been remanded in custody after being charged with murder.
However, Mr Tiwary told the court on Monday that Donny has indicated through the police that he did not wish to be interviewed.
A fourth member of the gang, Hairee Landak, 23, was sentenced in 2013 to 33 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane for armed robbery with grievous hurt.