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Man to enter defence on original murder charge
Published on: Thursday, March 22, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: A 26-year-old local who was jailed eight years for manslaughter was ordered by the Federal Court, Wednesday, to enter his defence on the original charge of murder.

A five-member panel chaired by Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Haji Maarop and Federal Court judges Tan Sri Zainun Ali, Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed and Tan Sri Wira Aziah Ali allowed the prosecution's appeal against reducing the murder charge against Robert Yee to manslaughter and set aside the conviction by the courts below.

In an unanimous decision, the Federal Court held that the High Court and the Court of Appeal erred in reducing the charge to Section 304(b) of the Penal Code.

Md Raus, in delivering the judgement, held that the courts below were overly influenced by the evidence of the investigating officer that the shooting was unintentional.

On the contrary, the courts below failed to consider adequacy of the evidence of prosecution's five witnesses, he held.

The apex court ordered Yee to enter his defence under Section 302 of the Penal Code and the defence to be heard before the same judge.

Yee was also ordered to be held under custody pending the disposal of his case.

Yee was on Feb 8, 2013 sentenced to eight years' jail when he admitted to causing the death of an 18-year-old girl in a house at Kampung Nabutan, in Ranau, on Sept 6, 2010 after the High Court reduced the charge to under Section 304(b) of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum jail of 10 years or a fine, or both, on conviction.

He was initially tried under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murdering the girl, which carries the mandatory death penalty, on conviction.

The prosecution's appeal against the High Court's decision was rejected on March 16, 2015.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Nurulhuda Nur'Aini Mohd Nor, in the appeal, submitted, among others, that according to Yee, the incident was an accident but based on the prosecution's witnesses' evidence, they overheard the deceased advising the respondent to stop as he was drunk, before they heard a gunshot sound.

The evidence showed the deceased was in self-defence by saying that, said DPP Nurulhuda.

She also submitted that Yee was not consistent during the case management when he said that another person, one Junaidi, killed the deceased and later on said it was an accident.

Counsel Hamid Ismail, representing Yee, submitted that Yee had no intention to kill the victim.

If he intended so, he would have done so in the jungle. They were just teens having fun that day, added Hamid. - Jo Ann Mool

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