Federal Court upholds Singaporean's death sentence for killing stepson

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court here on Thursday upheld the death sentence of a Singaporean man for the murder of his eight-year-old Thai stepson in 2008.

This followed the rejection of Shawal Senin’s application by the three-member panel of judges to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment under the Revision of Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act 2023.

"Application is dismissed and the death sentence is maintained,” said Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who chaired the panel with Federal Court judges Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Datuk Abu Bakar Jais.

Shawal, 47, was sentenced to death by the High Court on Nov 18, 2011, for killing Siwakorn Sukuntha at his residence in Kondominium Pulai View, Taman Kobena, Tampoi, Johor Baru between 9pm Dec 24 and 1pm on Dec 27, 2008.

His appeals to the Court of Appeal and Federal Court were dismissed on April 22, 2013, and Jan 29, 2015, respectively.

Shawal’s counsel Bustaman Menon Abdul Hamid Menon pleaded for leniency to commute the accused's death sentence to a prison sentence of between 33 years and 35 years.

He submitted that although it was a tragic case involving a small boy who was beaten over three days, Shawal’s act did not stem from "a heart of evil” or that he had intended to kill the boy.

Shawal, who had lost his job and was using drugs at the time, beat the child to discipline him, he added.

Deputy public prosecutor Dhiya Syazwani Izyan Mohd Akhir objected Shawal’s application and asked the court to uphold the death sentence imposed on him.

She said Shawal had repeatedly hit his stepson with his hand, a clothes hanger, feather duster, and a hammer and it was an act of blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life.

According to the facts of the case, Shawal got angry and assaulted the child by hand, a hammer, a clothes hanger, and a feather duster and also kicked him when the boy did not respond to his questions. His wife tried to stop him but was warned that she would face the same fate.

The boy's mother testified that Shawal told her he had used a lighter to burn the child’s private parts.

Shawal's last resort is to seek clemency from the Johor Pardons Board. - Bernama

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