SINGAPORE - A five-judge Court of Appeal on Friday (May 20) dismissed an eleventh-hour attempt to stay the execution of convicted murderer Jabing Kho.
The judges convened overnight after lawyer and opposition politician Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss filed a last-minute appeal late on Thursday night.
Kho, 31, from Sarawak, was scheduled to be hanged on Friday morning for the brutal killing of a construction worker in 2008. He had bludgeoned Chinese national Cao Ruyin on the head with a tree branch while robbing him. The victim, whose skull was shattered from multiple fractures, died six days later.
"This court should not be seen as a device to undermine the legal process. We cannot allow applications made at the eleventh hour, one after another," Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin said.
Judge Chao said he was surprised that Mrs Chong-Aruldoss filed an originating summons, which is a civil application, when this is a criminal matter.
He noted that the case was to have concluded and the court had already said in its judgment in April that it was to come to an end.
"The legal system will fall into disrepute if we allow the system to be scuttled in this way.
"We are here to maintain the dignity of the court. We cannot allow the legal process to be scuttled," he said.
Senior state counsel Francis Ng said Kho has repeatedly filed last-minute applications. Each time, a different counsel appeared but the arguments were always the same. He urged the court to dismiss the stay appeal as there was no merit.
Kho's sister had separately instructed lawyer Gino Hardial Singh to file a criminal motion in the Court of Appeal to quash his death sentence, as well as Mrs Chong-Aruldoss to file a civil application in the High Court.
Mr Singh's motion was unanimously dismissed on Thursday afternoon by a five-judge Court of Appeal, who said Kho's legal moves were an abuse of the court process and that his arguments premised on apparent bias were plainly wrong.
Later in the evening, Mrs Chong-Aruldoss made arguments before a judicial commissioner to stay Kho's execution. She failed, but was granted leave to file an appeal by 11pm. She met the deadline, effectively staving off Kho's hanging.