Tuesday, March 19

Ex-salesman acquitted of lawyer’s murder


ACQUITTED OF LAWYER’S MURDER: Lim surrounded by his counsels outside the courtroom.

KUCHING: An ex-salesman from Sibu was acquitted and discharged from a charge of killing senior civil lawyer Fabian Lim Ann Haow.

Lim Kiang Chai’s appeal against the conviction yesterday was allowed by the Court of Appeal because there his conviction was not secured by sufficient evidence.

However Lim, 33, is not totally free as he is facing another death penalty for raping and killing a 13-year-old girl in Sibu 22 years ago.

Yesterday’s decision was passed by a panel of judges comprising Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus, Datuk Abdul Wahab Patail and Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi.

In passing judgement, the judges stated three grounds for acquittal including the accused person’s caution statement, lack of eye witness and his background as a wanted person.

It said the cautioned statement taken from the accused might not be reliable as he was tortured during detention and interrogation. Lim was also not given food during his detention, based on six certificates issued by a doctor. That was when he was asked to sign the statement.

There were also no eyewitnesses, finger prints or murder weapon found.

Lim’s conviction passed by the High Court merely rested on his background as a wanted person, and the fact that he had been charged for another murder.

The accused Lim was represented by counsels Khriss Kooi Wei Kit, Kitsen Foong and Gladys Lee while DPP Noor Fadzila Ishak prosecuted.

He allegedly killed lawyer Lim with another person in front of Fu Xiang Food Centre at Rubber Road here at about 6.15pm on Feb 18, 2005.

It was said Lim had been offered RM56,000 to kill the lawyer. But he said he was only the rider of the motorcycle, and that a pillion rider was the one who fired the gun at lawyer Lim at close range.

Lim was initially found guilty at a High Court here on Dec 26, 2008.

In 1996, Lim and two other men – Teong Lung Chiong and Chang Chung Boon alias Ah Boon – were sentenced to death by Sibu High Court after he was found guilty of killing a 13-year-old girl inside a hut at Km8 1/2, Teku Road in Sibu between 2pm and 5pm on July 14, 1991.

They appealed against the decision and it was allowed resulting in all of them being acquitted and discharged.

The Federal Court affirmed their murder conviction in 2007. The murder allegedly occurred during the period of his release.