Appeal court upholds sentences in Kallang slashings murder case

The Court of Appeal upheld the sentences handed down to two Malaysians who were convicted of the brutal murder of a construction worker in the 2010 Kallang slashings on Monday (27 February).

Micheal Garing, 28, was given the death penalty while his accomplice, 38-year-old Tony Imba, was sentenced to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane.

Garing and Imba had accompanied two other men, Hairee Landak and Donny Meluda, from their hometown in Sarawak, Malaysia, on a seven-hour robbery spree, which began late on the night of 29 May 2010.

During that time, the gang killed an Indian national, Shanmuganathan Dillidurai, after having severely injured three others.

The first two victims were then construction worker Sandeep Singh, 24, and then full-time national serviceman Ang Jun Heng, 19. They were both attacked from behind, kicked and punched, and slashed with a parang.

An Indian national Egan Karuppaiah, then 43, was the third victim, who almost had both arms hacked to the bone.

The assailants then took off with the three victims’ wallets and mobile phones.

The fourth victim was Shanmuganathan Dillidurai, who was cycling on the footpath along Kallang Road sometime between 12.12am and 7.34am on 30 May 2010. Imba knocked him off his bicycle and Garing, who had wielded the 58cm-long parang, slit his throat and cut off his left hand. Shanmuganathan, whose wallet was stolen, also suffered a skull fracture and deep wounds on his back and left forearm.

A three-judge appeal court, comprising Judges of Appeal Chao Hick Tin, Andrew Phang and Judith Prakash, dismissed both appeals on Monday, stating that the “sheer brutality” of Garing’s attack warranted the imposition of the death penalty as he had shown a blatant disregard for human life.

Justice Chao said, “It seems to us that (Garing) attacked the deceased in a totally savage and merciless manner as though he were attacking a hunted prey,” noting that in his “vicious, savage and sustained onslaught” Garing had struck the top of the victim’s head with such force that his skull cracked, and he had slit the victim’s throat.

While the Court held that Imba had initiated the attack on the deceased, Justice Chao said, “We are not satisfied that he held onto the deceased for a  significant period of time long enough for Garing to inflict the fatal injuries.”

The Judges of Appeal said, “At the end of the day, the punishment must fit the crime. We are satisfied that the death penalty is warranted for (Garing) given his savage use of the parang on the deceased. The same, however, cannot be said for (Imba’s) involvement in the attack on the deceased… our decision in this regard rests on a very fine balance.”

Hairee Landak had pleaded guilty to three charges of armed robbery with hurt and was sentenced to 33 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane in 2010.

The fourth suspect, Donny Meluda, was arrested in Malaysia in January this year, after having evaded arrest for six years. Meluda, who had changed his name to Abdul Rahman Abdullah, has been charged with the offence of murder with common intention.

His case is still before the court, and if convicted, he will face the death penalty.