Last update: 17 June 2015
Kho Jabing, 31, was convicted and sentenced to death under section 300 (c) of the Penal Code.
In the evening of 17 February 2008, Jabing, together with four of his friends, was at Geylang. According to Jabing’s statement, the intention was to go Geylang to commit a robbery, as their previous plan to rob two co-workers was aborted.
When they spotted their victims along Lorong 4, Jabing assaulted the deceased with what was described as either a piece of wood or a tree branch, which he had picked up while approaching the victim. Galing, his co-accused, also assaulted the victim with a metal belt buckle. The victim later succumbed to the severe and multiple injuries inflicted by the piece of wood.
The Court of Appeal affirmed Jabing’s conviction on 24th May 2011. The court held that it was beyond reasonable doubt that Jabing intended to inflict multiple head injuries on the deceased. Jabing was thus sentenced to suffer the mandatory death penalty, which was still in place during his sentence and conviction.
Jabing was afforded an opportunity to be re-sentenced because of the amendments to the death penalty regime in 2013. On 18 November 2013, Justice Tay Yong Kwang re-sentenced Jabing to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane. The prosecutor appealed the re-sentencing decision. On 14th January 2015, the Court of Appeal, by a majority decision (with two out of the five judges dissenting) overturned Justice Tay’s decision and sentenced Jabing to death.
The majority justified imposing the death sentence on the basis that Jabing “exhibited a blatant disregard for human life” due to the “sheer savagery and brutality exhibited by the Respondent (Jabing)” in inflicting the blows to the deceased.
The minority judges however, disagreed with the death sentence imposed by the majority. Justice Woo Bih Li and Justice Lee Seiu Kin reasoned that there was a “reasonable doubt (as to) whether Jabing’s blows were all inflicted when the deceased was laying on the ground” which made it “unsafe to conclude beyond reasonable doubt that he (Jabing) acted in away which exhibited a blatant disregard for human life”.
Jabing has exhausted all legal avenues. He is currently awaiting a reply from the President on his clemency petition, which was submitted in April this year.