: A cleaner in a ship was sentenced to death by the High Court here today after he was found guilty of murdering a businessman by stabbing him and burning his body, three years ago.
Judge Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak handed down the sentence on Izwanuddin Kasim, 37, after finding the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubts against the prosecution's case, at the end of the defence's case.
In his judgment, Mohd Sofian said the accused was the individual who was always with the deceased from the beginning to the end, that is from the time of a quarrel at the house of the deceased and then outside a restaurant here followed by in a car until the victim was murdered and his body burned in an oil palm plantation in Batu Pahat.
He said, the accused's testimony when defending himself was only dependent upon the evidence filed by a prosecution witness who had previously been charged with killing the victim together with him.
"Although there was no evidence of any witness claiming the accused had stabbed the victim, but what is seen is circumstantial evidence, that at each scene from Johor Bahru to Batu Pahat, the accused was with the victim all the time.
"Moreover, there is evidence from a witness who said that a switchblade knife was in the hands of the accused during the incident thus matching the pathologist evidence confirming the victim died of stabs in the chest that had penetrated the heart, caused by a sharp object," he said.
Mohd Sofian said the accused was also identified by a witness, namely a petrol vendor from whom the accused had bought petrol.
According to the charge sheet, Izwanuddin along with a Singaporean man, Noriskandar Zainal Yahya, was charged with killing Yong Boon Cheong, 54, along Jalan Skudai, Danga Bay, Johor Bahru, between 6am and 7am, on July 4, 2014.
However, during the trial, which began on March 2015, the prosecution filed an amended charge against Noriskandar under Section 212 of the Penal Code for helping to dispose the body and the man was later sentenced to eight years' jail by the Johor Bahru Sessions Court.
The prosecution was handled by deputy public prosecutor Norafiah Saini while the accused was represented by lawyers Nor Shahid Abd Malek and Mohd Salihin. A total of 28 witnesses were called to testify in the trial.