SHAH ALAM: A former information technology (IT) officer was spared the death sentence after the High Court today amended his murder charge to culpable homicide.
Yew Wei Liang, 45, was initially charged with the murder of bank manager Syed Muhammad Danial Syed Shakir in a road rage incident which took place on the North-South Expressway (NSE) in 2019.
However, High Court Judge Julia Ibrahim, in delivering her judgment, amended the initial charge against Yew, under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder, to Section 304(a) for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Section 304 (a) carries a prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine.
The judge said the burden of proof of the right to self defence from the threat of bodily harm rests under the accused under Section 105 of the Evidence Act 1950.
"The accused failed to prove there was the threat of bodily harm against him and his wife from the deceased.
"However, based on all statements, the court found the existence to the right to protect the accused's property from acts of mischief which was the damage of the accused's (Toyota) Innova by using a baseball bat.
"But the right to protect the property did not extend to causing the death of the deceased," she said.
She added that the court found the credibility of prosecution witnesses' remained unchallenged until the end of defence case.
"The prosecution had successfully proved beyond reasonable doubt for the offence under Section 304(a).
"Therefore, the accused is convicted of the offence," she said.
The court has stood down to hear mitigation from the prosecution and defence.
Proceedings will resume at 2pm.
Yew was represented by counsel Wee Choo Keong.
The courtroom gallery was packed with Syed Muhammad Danial's family members.
On Aug 22, 2019, Yew was charged under Section 302 with murdering Syed Muhammad Danial, then aged 29, at the 293.6 kilometre stretch of the NSE (Kuala Lumpur-Seremban) between 1pm and 2pm on Aug 10, 2019. (Link: )
The incident began as a fender bender between Syed Muhammad Danial and Yew near the Sungai Besi toll plaza.
Both vehicles were then involved in a high-speed chase, until both drivers stopped and engaged in a physical altercation, which was broken up by other motorists.
Syed Muhammad Danial and the suspect eventually returned to their respective cars.
However, the former, still displeased, allegedly alighted from his car armed with a baseball bat, and began swinging at the front portion of the suspect's car.
In response, the suspect allegedly accelerated his vehicle, which rammed into Syed Muhammad Danial, pinning him between the suspect's car and the road divider.
Syed Muhammad Danial later died at the Nilai Medical Centre.