Accidental killer gets four years instead

Lesser charge: Subramaniam (left) briefing Chow outside the High Court in Seremban. With them is Devika.

SEREMBAN: It was a tale of murder that took a long time to finally see some manner of closure – 15 years, in fact, after a labourer trying to stop a fight inadvertently caused a death instead.

The 54-year-old charged with murder was sentenced to four years in jail by the High Court here after he pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of causing death without intention, for an incident that took place in 2008.

Chow Keak Fah had earlier pleaded not guilty to murdering 54-year-old Lim Kim Yong after the charge was read to him in Mandarin before High Court judge Justice Rohani Ismail.

However, he did not contest a lesser charge under Section 304(b) of the Penal Code for causing death without intention, in which an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined or both, upon conviction.

He was charged with unintentionally causing Lim’s death with another accused between 9pm and 10pm on Feb 8, 2008 at a restaurant in Mantin.

When delivering her verdict, Justice Rohani advised the accused to learn from the episode.

“You need to look after yourself and in future, try not to blindly follow others,” she said.

Counsel for the accused, G. Subramaniam Nair, urged the court to impose a lenient sentence as Chow only wanted to stop a fight between the deceased and another accused, who was his (Chow’s) brother-in-law.

“He was not at the restaurant when a fight broke out between the deceased and another accused.

“He was brought to the restaurant and wanted to stop the fight but got somehow dragged into it,” he said, adding that the accused was also remorseful and wished to apologise to the deceased’s family.

Chow was charged with murder on Aug 14, 2020, and has since been in detention.

Subramaniam, who was assisted by Devika Suppiah, had also submitted a representation to the Attorney General asking that his client’s charge be reduced.

According to the facts of the case, Chow was at home when a friend, who happened to be at the restaurant, came and told him about the fight.

They both rushed to the restaurant in the friend’s car and the accused tried to stop the fight.

Chow then picked up an iron rod to try and stop the fight but it somehow struck the deceased on his head, causing him to fall.

A post-mortem report stated the victim’s death was caused by a head injury due to blunt force impact, with coronary artery disease being a contributing factor.

The other accused, Yap Kim Tiam, was initially charged with murder on Aug 24, 2009.

However, this was reduced to culpable homicide and the accused was sentenced to five years in jail.

Deputy public prosecutor Alauddin Baharom urged the court to impose a sentence that was commensurate with the crime as a life had been lost.

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