Trio escape gallows, get 35 years' jail for murdering entrepreneur

PUTRAJAYA: A former female clerk and two others have escaped the gallows when the Court of Appeal commuted their death sentences to 35 years' jail for abducting and murdering a managing director of a company, whose body was dumped over the Penang Second Bridge nine years ago.

A three-member panel chaired by Judge Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera on Tuesday (March 5) unanimously set aside the death sentence handed down by the Shah Alam High Court in 2018 against Sunil Singh, A. Malarvili (women) and C. Kavin Mukilan for the murder of 68-year-old Balveer Kaur.

The court also ordered Sunil, the former driver of the deceased, and Kavi Mukilan to be given 12 strokes of the cane for the murder offence and another three strokes for abduction.

The total number of lashings to be imposed on them is 15 but Malarvili was spared the whipping as the law prohibits such punishment on female offenders.

In his broad judgment, Judge Vazeer said their lawyers had conceded that there was an abduction but there was no evidence of demand made for a RM2mil ransom.

"However, there were two phone calls made two hours after the abduction and the caller was a lady. The trial judge held that there was overwhelming evidence it was Malarvili," he said.

The judge also pointed out that the trial judge made a correct finding in calling the trio to enter their defence for murder and they were not denied a fair trial.

"They knew very well the prosecution's case against them. They had intentionally caused the death of the deceased by suffocating her and throwing the body into the sea," said the judge.

The other judges on the bench were Datuk Wong Kian Kheong and Datuk Noorin Badaruddin.

The prosecution was led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Noorhisham Jaafar while Malarvili and Kavin Mukilan were represented by lawyers Jasmine Cheong and Afifuddin Ahmad Hafifi while counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad, Chew Jee San, Kitson Foong, and Joshua Tay appeared for Sunil.

On Dec 27, 2018, the High Court Judge Datuk Zulkifli Bakar sentenced the trio to death for murdering Balveer Kaur at Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan, Perak at 11.02 pm, Feb 13, 2015.

They were alleged to have covered the victim's mouth until she suffocated to death and then threw the body into the sea. They were charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries the death sentence.

They were also found guilty of abducting Balveer Kaur and wrongfully confining her for ransom of RM2mil at a construction site in Bandar Sunway here at noon until 5.53pm on Feb 13, 2015.

The offence, under Section 3 of the Kidnapping Act 1961, carries the death sentence or life imprisonment, and shall, if not sentenced to death, also be liable to whipping, if found guilty. – Bernama

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