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Atrocious police work: murder conviction overturned

The following is an excerpt from Yawning Bread.

The Straits Times did the right thing to put the story on the front page, for it is a very serious case.

Ismil Kadar was acquitted of murder by the Court of Appeal after spending six years in jail facing the death penalty. The judges slammed the police investigators and the prosecution for more than sloppiness in building the case against him, questioning their motives as well.

Ismil and his brother Muhamad Kadar had been found guilty of murder by common intention in the 2005 killing of an elderly woman, Tham Weng Kuen, 69, while robbing her home. Her bedridden husband was in the flat as it happened, fully aware of what was happening but unable to help his wife.

Describing the case as ‘extraordinary’, Justice V. K. Rajah said the 42-year-old’s confessions were obtained ‘in troubling circumstances’ which appeared to be deliberate breaches in procedures rather than mere carelessness.

He added that investigators had been ‘less than thorough’ and said there was a ‘startling lack of any objective evidence’ that tied Mr Ismil to the crime.

– Straits Times, 6 July 2011, Man accused of murder freed after 6 years in jail, by Selina Lum

The judges also noted that there was a witness statement from the bedridden husband that there was only one intruder — and he had a sightline to the front door from his bed — which was suppressed by the prosecution until the very last minute and then dismissed  by the trial court when it would have exonerated at least one, if not both the brothers.

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