Crime & Courts

Woman escape gallows, sentence commuted to 10 years' jail

PUTRAJAYA: A 38-year-old woman escaped the gallows after the Court of Appeal commuted the mandatory death sentence to 10 years imprisonment for causing the death of her lover in 2011.

A three-member bench led by judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail made the decision after allowing C. Somchit appeal against her conviction and death sentence today.

The appellate court unanimously decided to quash the conviction for the murder and death sentence imposed by the Alor Star High Court and substitute it with a conviction of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Other members of the bench were – Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Datuk S. M. Komathy Suppiah.

The appellant was charged with murdering Suriati Saad on Sept 19, 2011, in a house at Sungai Petani where both of them lived.

The evidence in the High Court showed both of them were in a relationship and were living together before the incident.

Lawyer K. Simon Murali at the outset of the proceedings informed the court that the prosecution had made an offer to have the conviction amended to an offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304(a) of the Penal Code.

He said his client had accepted the offer.

In his mitigation, Simon Murali said the death of the deceased arose from a sudden fight between her and Somchit.

"They were in a relationship and Somchit loved the deceased very much.

"However, the relationship soured when the deceased decided to get married to a man," he said.

He said that during the intense altercation between Somchit and the deceased, both suffered major injuries.

"Unfortunately, the deceased passed away, as would Somchit had it not been for the emergency treatment she received at Sungai Petani Hospital.

"According to the medical evidence produced by the prosecution in the High Court, Somchit sustained stab wounds on the chest and stomach, and she would have died if not for the emergency treatment.

"My client was first arrested after the incident, but she was released unconditionally after the expiry of the remand.

"More than seven years later, Somchit was charged with murder. There was no explanation for the gap between the incident and the indictment," he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Public Prosecutor P. Sarulatha submitted that the trend of punishment was between 12 to 15 years.

She urged the court to sentence the appellant based on the trend.

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