The High Court handed a seven years’ jail sentence to a man who pleaded guilty to a charge of committing culpable homicide of causing a man’s death at the Kuala Lurah Control Post in 2017.
Moryadi bin Haji Raya was involved in the attack, along with Supariddin bin Haji Mat Jinin, Yusree bin Haji Ya’akub and Haji Tuah bin Haji Tarip.
Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong, assisted by Judicial Commissioner Muhammed Faisal bin Pehin Datu Juragan Laila Diraja Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Kefli, observed the chronology of the proceedings and facts of the case before handing sentence to Moryadi.
The High Court noted that on February 10 the public prosecutor opted for an alternative charge of culpable homicide due to the fact that the intention to kill was not premeditated and that Moryadi immediately pleaded guilty.
Moryadi is a close friend of Supariddin who harboured a grudge against Haji Ismadi because Supariddin was assaulted by Haji Ismadi and the former’s car was damaged in the fight.
Supariddin contacted his friends on a WhatsApp chat group on January 11, 2017 to meet at the vicinity of the control post for Haji Ismadi’s arrival from Limbang to exact revenge and seek compensation for the car’s damage.
Moryadi drove to the meeting place and met Supariddin. About 20 men gathered to prepare an assault against Haji Ismadi.
The victim, a friend of Haji Ismadi, was spotted driving a car through the control post by Haji Tuah. Haji Tuah informed Yusree and Supariddin that Haji Ismadi was in the car.
Ten men from the group – including Yusree and Supariddin – approached the car armed with a knife, a sword and a baseball bat as weapons to assault Haji Ismadi.
Yusree dragged the victim out of the car and punched him twice in the abdomen. The other men joined in the assault.
The victim attempted to flee by running towards the control post but they caught up with him and continued attacking.
At this point Moryadi, armed with a “metal object fashioned like a short sword” and another group of men also joined in the assault.
In the melee, Moryadi, “without the intention of causing death or causing bodily injury likely to cause death” stabbed the victim with the short sword causing him “to sustain one of many injuries”.
Someone used a sword to slash the victim’s back causing him to collapse on the ground. Moryadi then fled the scene in his car.
The victim suffered fatal injuries from the assault.
The postmortem report stated that the cause of death was haemorrhagic shock due to a deep cut injury of the trunk.
Defence counsels Ahmad Basuni Abbas and Muhd Nicholas Muhd Jamil Abas of Messrs Abrahams Davidson for Moryadi submitted that of the four defendants, the culpability of Moryadi is the least.
The defence further contended that the other three defendants were “more culpable” as they “initiated” the attack on the victim causing the rest of the men to join in.
Moryadi’s lawyers sought a similar or lesser sentence to be handed to the other three defendants.
While reflecting the aggravating factors in Moryadi’s case, the prosecution responded by urging the court to consider a minimum of 10 to 15 years’ imprisonment but highlighted that the sentence to the other three defendants was from three to six years’ jail.
In Moryadi’s favour, the High Court considered his guilty plea, clean record and offer of assistance to the prosecution to identify the men involved in the attack.
The High Court disagreed with the defence counsels because “we are of the view that the culpability of (the three other defendants) is far lower than that of (Moryadi) for the reasons as follow”.
Yusree was armed with a “metal object” when he approached the victim but did not use it to attack him. Instead, he punched the victim in the abdomen. Neither Supariddin nor Haji Tuah physically assaulted the victim. Although Supariddin was carrying a baseball bat at the time, he used it to smash the windscreen of the victim’s car.
“The serious aggravating feature present in (Moryadi’s) case is that he had armed himself with the short sword – a dangerous weapon – which he used to stab the victim. This is not a case of someone who on the spur of the moment picked up a weapon at the scene and used it to attack the victim,” the court thought.
The court saw that there was premeditation and intention on the part of Moryadi to engage in serious violence.
“But we would observe that there is no evidence to which part of the victim’s body was stabbed by (Moryadi) and it is not the prosecution’s case that it was (Moryadi) who had inflicted the fatal injury,” the court pondered.
“In all the circumstances we think a starting point sentence of imprisonment of 12 years reduced to eight years on account of the guilty plea is appropriate. There is undoubtedly a long delay in the prosecution of this case and this justifies a reduction of one year in the sentence,” the court concluded.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Rozaimah binti Abdul Rahman, Prosecutors Khalillah Hussin and Ahmad Firdaus Mohammad represented the public prosecutor in the case.