Sugar cane seller's death sentence for murder commuted to 40 years in jail

PUTRAJAYA: A former sugar cane seller escaped the gallows when the Federal Court commuted the death sentence to 40 years in jail for murdering Indonesian maid Muntik Bani 15 years ago.

The three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat unanimously allowed the appeal by A. Murugan, 50, and ordered the sentence to start from Oct 21, 2009.

"The court sets aside the death sentence and orders you (Murugan) to serve the 40-year jail sentence from the day of detention,” said Tengku Maimun, who presided over the case with Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Federal Court judge Datuk Nordin Hassan.

Muntik Bani, 36, from Surabaya, passed away on Oct 26, 2009 after failing to respond to treatment at Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah in Klang.

In 2010, the Shah Alam High Court found Murugan guilty of her murder at his house in Taman Sentosa, Klang between Oct 18 and 20, 2009.

Murugan’s initial appeals at the Court of Appeal and Federal Court were dismissed in 2012 and 2014 but the case was brought up under the Revision of Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act 2023.

Earlier, Murugan’s lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo urged the court to impose a jail term of between 35 and 40 years owing to Murugan’s health condition which requires medication, and the fact that he was in a coma for six months after undergoing surgery.

Sangeet also urged the court to consider the fact that the victim had died six days after receiving treatment in the hospital.

However, DPP How Mei Ling urged the court to maintain the death sentence to serve as a deterrent to others since Muntik had died because of the brutal, violent and inhuman attack by the accused.

How argued that Murugan had ill-treated a woman who sought refuge in his house and caused severe injuries to her back through repeated beatings, including with blunt objects.

Muntik had also informed another witness in the hospital that she had been beaten up, scalded with hot water, and locked in the bathroom for two days without food or drink although she did nothing wrong. – Bernama

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