‘Death was not an accident’

A 29-year-old man was found guilty of murdering his then girlfriend’s nine-month-old son in 2019, after the High Court rejected his defence that the baby’s death was an accident.

Mohamed Aliff Mohamed Yusoff claimed that he was holding the baby, Izz Fayyaz Zayani Ahmad, in his arm and trying to close the door of his van when the baby fidgeted and fell head-first onto the floorboard of the van before falling on the ground.

However, High Court judge Mavis Chionh concluded that it was Aliff who had caused the fatal head injuries to Izz by pushing his head against the floorboard of the van.

Justice Chionh found that Aliff’s claim of an accidental fall was not consistent with autopsy findings and medical opinion.

Senior consultant forensic pathologist Gilbert Lau found that the baby had died from bleeding in the brain as a result of traumatic injury.

Dr Lau testified that if Izz had indeed fallen with sufficient impact to have suffered the fatal internal injuries, he would have expected to find some laceration or linear abrasion of the skull – but he found no such thing.

In his statements to the police, Aliff vacillated between admitting to having pushed Izz’s head against the floorboard of the van and claiming that Izz had hit his head after accidentally falling from his arm.

Justice Chionh said Aliff’s conduct after the incident supported the version that he had intentionally pushed Izz’s head against the floorboard.

Aliff’s then girlfriend, Nadiah Abdul Jalil, said he had suggested to her that they pay someone to bury Izz and report him missing a year later.

Nadiah said Aliff repeatedly delayed taking her and Izz to the National University Hospital.

After parking at the NUH basement carpark, Aliff took time to brush his teeth and wipe his body; Nadiah testified that he told her this was because he feared being placed in remand by the police.

She also testified that Aliff made her wait while he took time to dispose of his mobile phone.

Surveillance footage supported her testimony of Aliff’s delaying tactics.

“The accused’s post-incident behaviour was strikingly consistent with the behaviour of someone labouring under the guilty knowledge that Izz had died by his hand and fearful of being found out.

“It was not the behaviour of someone who was anxious to get Izz’s injuries treated after seeing Izz hurt himself in an accidental fall,” said Justice Chionh.

The case was adjourned for sentencing in August. — The Straits Times/ANN

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