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Court of Appeal dismisses bid for review of case by man sentenced in 2014 for setting ex-lover on fire, killing her

Court of Appeal dismisses bid for review of case by man sentenced in 2014 for setting ex-lover on fire, killing her

File photo of the Supreme Court of Singapore (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Six years after he was sentenced to 20 years' jail for culpable homicide by setting his ex-lover on fire and killing her, a man tried to have his case reviewed, calling the sentence excessive and claiming mistakes were made in the judgment.

However, the Court of Appeal on Monday (Oct 19) dismissed the application by Lim Ghim Peow, who is in his early 50s, saying it was "wholly devoid of merit".

Delivering the decision on behalf of a three-judge panel, Appeal Judge Andrew Phang said the application "is nothing but an attempt by the applicant to mount a 'back-door' appeal in violation of both the spirit and substance of the review process".

Lim, who had pleaded guilty and was sentenced in January 2014 for one charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, said "rubbish" while listening to the judgment and wanted to speak after verdict was delivered, but was not allowed to.

He had been convicted of carrying out "a very cruel and vicious attack" on 43-year-old Mary Yoong Mei Ling at her Sengkang flat in May 2012, dousing her with petrol and setting her on fire, after she refused to get back together with him.

Lim had intended to kill himself after killing her, and was later diagnosed as suffering from major depressive disorder and had been abusing methamphetamine. 

The victim was engulfed in flames and died after suffering burns on 75 per cent of her body.

After being sentenced in January 2014, Lim appealed against his sentence in July 2014 but this was dismissed by the Court of Appeal. Lim was represented by lawyers Sunil Sudheesan, Diana Ngiam and the late Subhas Anandan at various stages of his case.

Lim sent a letter in September 2017 to the Court of Appeal seeking an appeal or "re-appeal" of his sentence and verdict, alleging that the prosecution had prosecuted him inaccurately, that he did not obtain  proper and effective defence, and that the judgment was "unjust and unfair".

The Supreme Court's legal registry replied to Lim in October 2017 to say that the Court of Appeal had already heard his appeal in 2014 and there was no further right of appeal.

Lim filed an application in March this year asking for his case to be reheard on the ground that the sentence was "too excessive" and that the High court "had made mistakes in its judgment".

These grounds "clearly fail to meet the threshold for review", said Justice Phang on Monday, adding that no leave or permission had been granted to Lim to even make a review application.

Referring to the allegations made by Lim in his attempt for a review, the judge said these were "nothing more than bare assertions unsupported by any evidence".

"For the record, we would also emphasise that applicants will not get very far by making such unwarranted allegations many years after proceedings have concluded, if they do not have a sound basis grounded in relevant evidence," said Justice Phang.

Source: CNA/ll(rw)

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