Death sentence for murder of girlfriend upheld

KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Court here yesterday upheld the death sentence imposed on a local man who murdered his girlfriend nine years ago.Federal Court president Justice Tun Zaki Tun Azmi dismissed Chung Tain Kong @ Chung Fook Chong’s appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision in affirming the death sentence imposed on him by the High Court here in 2003.

APPEAL DISMISSED: Chung (second left) escorted out of the courtroom after the proceedings.

APPEAL DISMISSED: Chung (second left) escorted out of the courtroom after the proceedings.

Chung, who was defended by Datuk Chau Ching Tang, looked calm after the court delivered the judgement yesterday.

Zaki, who heard the appeal together with Justice Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff and Datuk Hashim Yusoff on Aug 17 this year, held that they agreed with the trial judge that the killing was not justifiable as it was Chung who initiated the aggression by advancing on Lee Chin Hiong even after she had warned him not to do so while she had a knife in her hand.

“His aggression culminated in his multiple stabbings of the deceased even though there was no imminent danger to his own life because Lee had already fallen to the floor and was quite helpless when he took the knife from her and stabbed her,” Zaki said.

He added that Chung’s action was not covered by the provisions of Section 100 (a) or (b) of the Penal Code which prescribes the right of private defence.

“The Court of Appeal also found there was no misdirection by the judge when he was of the view that Chung had been less than truthful in his testimony.

It is trite that a finding on the credibility of a witness by a trial judge should not be disturbed by an appellate court.

“Likewise it is also trite that the Court of Appeal should not disturb the findings of facts by the trial judge unless they are against the weight of evidence.

“Having considered the evidence in its totality and the reasons given by the trial judge and the concurrent findings of the Court of Appeal, we find no reason to interfere with the decisions made,” Zaki said in dismissing the appeal and upheld the conviction and the death sentence.

Last April 13, the Court of Appeal affirmed the death sentence imposed by High Court Judge (now Court of Appeal Judge) Datuk Sulong Matjeraie on May 5, 2003.

Sulong sentenced Chung, 55, to death by hanging after finding him guilty of murdering Lee, 36, with a knife in house No. 18, Lorong Muntahan 3, Taman Cendawan here about 2.30pm on Jan 17, 2000.

The offence under Section 302 of the Penal Code carries the mandatory death sentence.

Counsel Yong Pei Yi stood in for Chau while Senior Federal Counsel Salim Soib Ahmad stood in for Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Bachee, who appeared for the respondent.

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