SINGAPORE - Lim Jit Kiat, who posed as a Korean client to get a male prostitute to be caned and burnt by him in return for more than $1 million, died last month before he was sentenced, a court heard.
District Judge Low Wee Ping said the 44-year-old, who was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure, "provided us his ultimate rebuttal testimony. He passed away. At least he was on bail for the last 1½ years. May he rest in peace."
Lim was supposed to have been sentenced on Wednesday (Nov 15) for forging a POSB cheque for $1.36 million with the intention of causing it to be believed that the cheque was signed by his father, the authorised signatory, on May 18, 2014. Two other charges of cheating and theft of a cheque were to have been taken into consideration in sentencing.
The case was abated in view of his death on Oct 25, five days after the end of a special hearing to see if judicial mercy should be exercised and whether the prison authorities were able to cope with his medical condition.
Lim had pleaded guilty in April last year. A corrective training suitability report was called.
The prosecution had sought 10 years' corrective training for Lim, citing his lengthy criminal record. Lim had also served 10 years' corrective training before for unrelated cheating and forgery offences.
Corrective training is a harsher form of punishment in which the offender is not eligible for early release due to factors such as good behaviour.
Despite the prosecution's assurance that the prison authorities were able to manage Lim's condition, the judge was reluctant to sentence Lim to corrective training and said the 10-year term was "manifestly excessive".
Lim's counsel Timothy Ng had urged the court to exercise judicial mercy, saying doctors had given Lim about five years to live. "Fate has dealt him a cruel hand," Mr Ng had said. He added that four weeks' jail would be an appropriate punishment for Lim, who has also been diagnosed with sexual sadism disorder.
Mr Ng said outside the courtroom that he learnt of his client's death a few days after the event from Lim's father, who brought the death certificate to his law firm.