Sabah worker is first murderer to be given life imprisonment under amended law

A 23-year-old Malaysian man on Tuesday became the first convicted murderer in Singapore to be sentenced to life imprisonment.

This follows changes made to the law last year giving judges the discretion to impose either the death penalty or life imprisonment for certain categories of murder.

The case of Fabian Adiu Edwin, a construction worker from Sabah who killed a security guard in 2008 during a robbery, is the first time a sentencing judge has a choice in deciding the sentence for murder.

Before the changes to the law, the death penalty was mandatory for all categories of murder.

Fabian was convicted of murder in September 2011 and given the then-mandatory death penalty. However, he was among the condemned prisoners given a lifeline as hangings had been put on hold pending a review of the mandatory death penalty.

In May this year, his case was sent back to the High Court for re-sentencing.

On Tuesday, in imposing life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane, Justice Chan Seng Onn considered Fabian's young age and sub-normal IQ.