PUTRAJAYA: A 29-year-old man has escaped the gallows over the death of a teenage girl after his murder charge was reduced by the Malaysian Court of Appeal on Thursday (Sep 12).
Poon Wai Hong was sentenced to death by a High Court in April last year for causing the death of 15-year-old Ms Ng Yuk Tim, a cosplay enthusiast.
The Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday that Poon should instead be sentenced to 22 years' jail after his murder charge was reduced to one of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. His jail term will start from the date of his arrest on Oct 22, 2013, the court added.
Justice Kamardin Hashim, chairing a three-member bench, said the court found merits in Poon's appeal and set aside the death sentence.
He was convicted of causing Ms Ng's death at a house at Kampung Cempaka in Kelana Jaya between 3pm and 4pm on Oct 21, 2013.
Poon’s lawyer Rajpal Singh told the High Court in April last year that Ms Ng had gone to the house to get help with some cosplay costumes.
He said that Poon had intended to have sex with Ms Ng but a friend had interrupted the duo, causing him to leave the house. When Poon returned, Ms Ng did not want to have sex anymore, which sparked a fight.
Mr Singh said that Poon had tried to stop Ms Ng from shouting during the altercation. After she bit his hand, Poon pushed her away to prevent her from attacking him with a stun gun, the lawyer claimed.
Poon said that after retrieving his spectacles that had fallen to the ground, he saw Ms Ng lying motionless on the floor after falling and hitting her head on a dumbbell.
Mr Singh said Poon panicked and stuffed Ms Ng's body in a luggage bag instead of calling the authorities.
DNA evidence showed that Ms Ng’s blood was found on the ring of the dumbbell but the handle of the dumbbell did not have Poon's DNA, Mr Singh added.
During mitigation for a lower jail sentence, the lawyer told the court that his client was remorseful and had apologised to Ms Ng’s family.
Deputy public prosecutor Nurshafini Mustafha argued that there was overwhelming circumstantial evidence that Poon had murdered Ms Ng.
She said the deceased was 15 years old at the time, and she urged the court to consider that there was a loss of life as well as the way her body was disposed of.
Ms Nurshafini told reporters that the prosecution would be appealing to the Federal Court.