PUTRAJAYA – A former bus driver escaped the hangman’s noose after the Federal Court today commuted the death sentence to a maximum of 40 years in jail and 12 strokes of the cane for his girlfriend’s murder seven years ago.
A panel of three judges consisting of Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah, Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Abu Bakar Jais made the ruling after using their discretion to substitute the death sentence on M. Siva Sangker, 39, with imprisonment.
This followed the abolition of the mandatory death penalty that came into effect on July 4, which allowed judges to impose a prison sentence of not less than 30 years and not more than 40 years in replace of the mandatory death sentence.
The father of five was ordered to serve the prison sentence from the date of his arrest which was Nov 24, 2016.
Judge Mohamad Zabidin, when reading out the unanimous decision, said the court confirmed the conviction against the appellant (Siva Sangker) after finding that the conviction was safe to be upheld.
“After considering the arguments, we found that there was no error made by the Court of Appeal. Therefore the conviction is safe,” he said.
Siva Sangker had appealed against the decision of the Johor Bahru High Court on Feb 4, 202, which sentenced him to death after he was found guilty of murdering V. Durga Devi, 23, at Jalan Kancil 1, Taman Scientex, Pasir Gudang, in Johor, at 12.15pm on Nov 21, 2016.
The charge, framed under Section 302 of the Penal Code, provides the death penalty, upon conviction.
On Dec 6, 2022, the Court of Appeal upheld the conviction and death sentence against Siva Sangker.
Earlier, lawyer Datuk Rajpal Singh, representing Siva Sangker, submitted that the failure of the previous lawyer to file an alibi notice to deny his client’s presence at the scene showed that Siva Sangker did not get a fair trial.
“During the incident, my client was not there and he was in Masai (Johor),” he said.
Rajpal also requested the court to set aside the death sentence and substitute it with an alternative sentence of imprisonment for a period of 30 to 40 years to give his client a second chance.
“My client regretted the incident and has apologised to the victim’s family. It is true that a loss of life has occurred and that he has committed a serious offence, but he is not a serial killer who endangers the community,” said the lawyer.
However, How requested that the conviction and sentence imposed on Siva Sangker be upheld.
Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor How May Ling urged the court to uphold the conviction and sentence against Siva Sangker.
She said although Siva Sangker claimed that he was in Masai on the day of the incident, there was no certainty that the man intended to file an alibi notice to support his defence.
According to How, six eyewitnesses testified that the appellant attacked the victim causing her to suffer 49 injuries.
“The victim was also slashed on the neck and head which could lead to death. After the victim was slashed, the appellant continued to chase and attack her even when she fell down,” she added. – BERNAMA