PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court here upheld the 20-year jail term imposed on an elderly couple for causing the death of their Indonesian maid in 2011.
The five-member bench led by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Seri David Wong Dak Wah was unanimous in its dismissal of the appeal by Fong Kong Meng and his wife Teoh Ching Yen.
“There is no merit in the application,” said Justice Wong.
He said the Federal Court had re-evaluated the entire evidence and held that the conviction of the couple should be under Section 304 (a) of the Penal Code.
Fong, 63, a former wiring consultant, and Teoh, 61, a housewife, were initially convicted and sentenced to death by the High Court for the murder of Isti Komariah, 26, at a house in Jalan SS 2/6, Sea Park in Petaling Jaya, Selangor between May 14, 2010, and June 5, 2011.
The Court of Appeal dismissed their appeal and upheld the High Court decision.
Fong and Teoh were spared the gallows when the Federal Court amended their murder charge to culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 (a) and sentenced them to 20 years’ jail.
On April 4, the couple filed an application to review the Federal Court decision, claiming that they were wrongly sentenced to 20 years’ jail under Section 304 (a) of the Penal Code.
Then on May 16, their counsel Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram submitted before the Federal Court that the appropriate sentence would be under Section 304 (b) of the Penal Code which provides a maximum 10 years’ jail term and not under Section 304 (a) of the Penal Code which was punishable to 30 years’ jail.
He said his clients’ case fell under Section 304 (b) as they had committed the offence without any intention of causing death.
Sri Ram who was assisted by Hisyam Teh Poh Teik had submitted that the prosecution had relied on Section 300 (d) of the Penal Code to prove its case for murder and that the High Court had relied on the same section when sentencing the couple to death.
Section 300 (d) applies to cases where the accused persons were shown not to possess the intention to cause specific bodily injury leading to death.
Deputy public prosecutor Tetralina Ahmed Fauzi had argued that the 20 years’ jail sentence imposed on Fong and Teoh was in accordance with the law.
She said the application for review under Rule 137 of the Rules of the Federal Court 1995 was only applicable in rare and special circumstances and the couple did not meet the threshold requirement.
On May 16, the bench comprising Justice Wong and Federal Court judges Datuk Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin, Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan deferred the court’s decision after hearing submissions from both parties. — Bernama