Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a media statement on 26 May 2016 stating that there had been several inaccurate points made in relation to the legal process in the case of Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national who has been executed on 20 May 2016. It went on to state that sole purpose of the applications by Kho’s counsels was to try and delay his execution.
MHA noted that Kho had been represented by counsel throughout the whole process and was given every opportunity to file appeals and apply for re-sentencing and petition the President for clemency.
After amendments were made in 2012 on the laws on the death penalty in Singapore, Kho was re-sentenced to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane after an appeal to the High Court.
The prosecution, however, appealed the re-sentencing and the case was brought to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal then proceeded to overturn the previous ruling and reversed the sentence back to death sentence in 2013.
In 2015, the court rejected his application for clemency.
On 23 November 2015, Kho was granted a temporary reprieve pending the outcome of a petition filed by his lawyers, which raised questions of fact and law.
MHA said that the above process by Kho’s counsels was a pattern which was to be repeated more than once subsequently.
On 6 April this year, the Court of Appeal lifted the temporary reprieve after dismissing the appeal and upheld its decision to impose the death penalty on Kho Jabing, saying that it observed that there were in reality no new arguments.
On 19 May, Lawyer, Gino Hardial Singh filed a criminal motion citing grounds of apparent bias on the part of Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang, who had sat on both Jabing’s appeals. He argued Justice Andrew Phang’s involvement in the 2013 appeal essentially involved the judge deliberating over an appeal against his own decision – the one made in 2010.
However, this criminal motion was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
On that same day, an originating summons was filed by lawyer, Ms Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss. She challenged the constitutionality of certain aspects of the amendments to the mandatory death penalty in Singapore.
Mrs Chong-Aruldoss had sought a stay of execution pending the scheduling of a hearing date for her application to be heard and was given 9am, the next day for the application to be heard.
MHA’s view is that while lawyers’ reasons were ostensibly that they were going to make new arguments. But in fact, there were no new arguments and said that it appeared that the sole purpose of the applications was to try and delay the execution which had been set for 20 May 2016.
The 5 judges in the Court of Appeal which JA Phang again sat in, dismissed all the applications on 20 May.
Tthe Court of Appeal said that Kho’s multiple court applications after the conclusion of his appeal were an abuse of court process. MHA noted that it had said in its judgment in April this year that the case was to come to an end.
The government decided to hang Kho in the afternoon of Friday after the temporary stay of execution was lifted in the morning. Hangings in Singapore always take place at dawn on Friday until Kho’s execution on 20 May 2016.
The full media statement of MHA as follow below.
Several inaccurate points have been made in relation to the legal process in the case of Malaysian national Jabing Kho (“Jabing”).
Jabing brutally killed a person in 2008. Jabing continued to strike the victim multiple times even though the victim stopped retaliating after the first blow. The victim suffered 14 fractures to the skull with severe haemorrhage in three areas. Jabing was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 2010.
Jabing was represented by counsel throughout. He was given every opportunity to file appeals, apply for re-sentencing consequent to amendments to the mandatory death penalty regime under the Penal Code, and petition the President for clemency.
Following the conclusion of the legal and clemency process in 2015, Jabing was initially scheduled to have his sentence carried out in November 2015. However, he instructed his lawyers at the last minute, after the date for the execution was set, to rush to Court to try and get a stay, based on ‘new’ arguments which he wanted to raise. This was a pattern which was to be repeated more than once subsequently. The Court of Appeal ordered a stay of execution, and agreed to hear the arguments. The Court of Appeal, after hearing the arguments, dismissed them, in April this year. It also observed that there were in reality no new arguments.
The date for execution was then set for 20 May 2016, and Jabing and his family were informed. New lawyers were then instructed to file a last-minute criminal motion to the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, 18 May 2016. Their applications were dismissed by the Court of Appeal. Then another two sets of new lawyers were instructed, to file yet another set of two applications at the last minute. The lawyers’ reasons were ostensibly that they were going to make new arguments. In fact there were no new arguments. It appeared that the sole purpose of the applications was to try and delay the execution which had been set for 20 May 2016.
The Court of Appeal dismissed all the applications. The Court of Appeal said that Jabing’s multiple court applications after the conclusion of his appeal were an abuse of court process. The Court of Appeal also noted that it had said in its judgment in April this year that the case was to come to an end.
After the Court of Appeal dismissed the applications, the sentence was carried out, on the date which had been fixed, 20 May 2016.