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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Ex-lorry driver gets 20 years jail for causing wife’s death

The Court of Appeal said Satvender Singh had been deprived of a fair trial, and reduced his murder charge to one of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today sentenced a former lorry driver to 20 years in prison for causing the death of his wife by strangulation seven years ago.

Justice Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, who chaired a three-member panel, announced the court’s unanimous verdict finding Satvender Singh guilty of a lesser charge of causing culpable homicide not amounting to murder over the death of D Kamaljit.

Also on the panel were Justices Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and SM Komathy.

Satvender was initially found guilty on charges of murdering Kamaljit and their seven-month-old daughter, Ishilyn Kaur Sandhu, by the High Court in 2021.

However, the appeals court today acquitted Satvender of murdering the infant.

Delivering the court’s decision, Komathy said Satvender’s conviction for the child’s murder was unsafe.

She pointed out that the pathologist who conducted a post-mortem on Ishilyn’s body could not explain why milk was found in the baby’s lungs. She also said a doctor had suggested that the child may have died from choking.

“As the evidence on the cause of death is unclear, the benefit of the doubt must be given to the accused (Satvender),” she said.

On the court’s decision to reduce Satvender’s charge in relation to Kamaljit’s death, Komathy noted that the High Court had, when calling for his defence, failed to indicate which ingredients of the charge the prosecution had proven against him.

She said the failure deprived Satvender of a fair trial.

The court ordered Satvender to serve his sentence from the date of his arrest on April 14, 2016.

During mitigation, Satvender’s lawyer, Rajpal Singh, said his client was remorseful and wished to extend his apologies to the family of his wife.

Deputy public prosecutor Nahra Dollah urged the court to impose a 20-year jail sentence since Satvender had committed a serious crime.

Lawyer RSN Rayer, who held a watching brief for Kamaljit’s family, told the court that Kamaljit’s mother, Pajem Kaur, had lost her daughter at a young age.

He said Pajem could not move on from the traumatic experience of her daughter’s death. - FMT

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