Federal Court upholds ex-businessman's death sentence for 2006 murder of UUM grad

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court here on Wednesday (May 29) upheld the death sentence of a former businessman for the murder of a female marketing executive 18 years ago.

A three-member panel comprising Justices Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal, Nordin Hassan, and Abu Bakar Jais dismissed Shahril Jaafar’s review application 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.

"We wish to reiterate this court is always aligned to compassion and mercy. In our view, this is an exceptional case with exceptional facts,” said Justice Harmindar.

He said the deceased (Chee Gaik Yap) had suffered exceptional violence at Shahril’s hands. He pointed out that the 25-year-old woman was abducted, sodomised, raped, and killed by Shahril.

He said the crime caused public uproar and shock, adding that the incident took place in broad daylight.

"We are constrained to dismiss Shahril’s application and the death sentence is upheld,” said Justice Harmindar.

In 2015, Shahril, 43, was found guilty by the Alor Setar High Court of killing Chee, a Universiti Utara Malaysia graduate, near the Cinta Sayang Club in Taman Ria Jaya, Sungai Petani, between 5.30pm on Jan 14 and 3.05am on Jan 15, 2006.

He was sentenced to death, and his subsequent appeals at the Court of Appeal and Federal Court were dismissed in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

Earlier, Shahril’s lawyer Rosli Kamaruddin asked the court to commute the death sentence imposed on his client to life imprisonment.

He conveyed Shahril's remorse and appealed to the court for a chance at redemption, citing his client's active participation in prison rehabilitation programmes as a testament to his commitment to repent.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Dusuki Mokhtar, who was assisted by DPP Solehah Noratikah Ismail objected to Shahril’s application and urged the court to uphold the death sentence, noting that this is the rarest of rare cases.

He said it was a brutal kidnap, rape, sodomy, and murder of a young lady who had gone jogging with her younger sister, adding that her semi-nude body was found nine hours later in a bush near the jogging track.

Dusuki said forensic pathologists found 50 wounds on Chee’s body, including around her private parts where Shahril’s DNA was found.

He said Shahril fled to Australia for three years to avoid investigation and arrest.

He was finally detained six years later at KL International Airport upon his arrival from Perth in January 2012. - Bernama

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