MALAYSIA: 2 SENTENCED TO DEATH FREED OVER IDENTITY DOUBTS
November 21, 2021:
A storekeeper and a forklift operator escaped the gallows for murder in Malaysia as two prosecution witnesses were unable to identify the assailants, Free Malaysia Today reported on 18 November 2021. (Sources: Free Malaysia Today, 18/11/2021)
A three-member Court of Appeal bench, led by Kamaludin Md Said, also agreed with their counsel that the trial judge was wrong in calling for the defence of S Danaraj and A Logiswaran, both 29.
Others on the bench were M Gunalan and Ghazali Cha.
Gunalan, who read the broad judgment of the court, said the main issue for determination was whether there was positive identification of the appellants.
“In our view, more than a reasonable doubt had been raised during the prosecution’s case,” he said, in allowing the appeal to set aside the High Court’s conviction and sentence.
Gunalan said the trial judge had failed to judicially appreciate the evidence in its entirety, particularly on identification by the two witnesses.
“There is merit in our interference. We allow the appeal and acquit the appellants,” he said.
Danaraj, Logiswaran and three others still at large were charged with the murder of A Kalaymanee in front of a house at Jalan Bunga Melur, Kampug Baru Hicom in Shah Alam, Selangor State, at about 1.30am on 12 October 2014.
Ramkarpal Singh, appearing for Danaraj, and Saha Deva Arunasalam, for Logiswaran, submitted that it was unsafe to convict their clients for an offence that carried the death penalty.
Both counsels also submitted that their clients had given alibi notice to the prosecution that they were not at the crime scene.
Danaraj claimed he was at a birthday party while Logiswaran said he was attending a prayer session at his sister’s house.
Deputy public prosecutor Hanim Mohd Rashid submitted that the convictions were safe, although a second trial judge had taken over the case.
She said the replacement judge had assessed the credibility of the witnesses, including some who did not testify before him, based on the notes of evidence.
The prosecution relied on the evidence of the deceased’s brother, Kalairasan, and a cousin, N Suresh, to prove the accused were at the crime scene.