SINGAPORE — A 29-year-old Singaporean man was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday (11 August) for murdering his girlfriend's nine-month-old son in a van at a car park in Yishun.
Mohamed Aliff Mohamed Yusoff would also be given 15 strokes of the cane, according to the verdict delivered by Justice Mavis Chionh in High Court.
In sentencing, Justice Chionh said that the death penalty was not warranted in Aliff's case.
The prosecution had sought life imprisonment and 15 to 18 strokes of the cane for Aliff, while the defence team sought life imprisonment and five to six strokes of the cane. He was charged with the crime in November 2019 and was convicted in July following a trial this year.
"In gist, the death penalty is the appropriate sentence where the offender has acted in a manner that shows viciousness or a disregard for human life. I do not find that the circumstances of this case warrant the death penalty," Justice Chionh said.
According to court documents, Aliff had pushed Izz Fayyaz Zayani Ahmad's head against the wooden floorboard of a van at least twice between 10pm and 12.15am on 7-8 November, 2019, in a multi-storey car park at Block 840A, Yishun Street 81.
Earlier on the same night, Izz Fayyaz's mother, Nadiah Abdul Jalil, and Aliff had a disagreement over how to discipline the infant for spilling a drink during dinner. Aliff volunteered to take care of him for the night.
Local media reported that during the trial, Aliff's defence team claimed Izz Fayyaz's death was an accident, as he had fidgeted and fell from Aliff's right arm in his attempt to close the van's door.
They claimed that the infant hit the van's floorboard headfirst, bounced, and hit his head again on the van's footrest, before falling to the car park floor.
Izz Fayyaz's cause of death was later determined by a forensic pathologist to be traumatic intracranial haemorrhage caused by blunt force trauma.
Disturbing lack of remorse after crime: High Court judge
Justice Chionh said that she agreed with the prosecution that Izz Fayyaz's extreme youth and total inability to defend himself rendered him an especially vulnerable victim and constituted an aggravating factor that must be taken into account in Aliff's sentencing.
The infant had measured 71 cm in height and weighed 7.3kg at the time of his death.
"Our courts have consistently adopted a tough stance towards offenders who cause the deaths of defenceless young victims by violence," she said.
Other factors include the fact that Izz Fayyaz had been entrusted by his mother to Aliff's care on the night of the incident.
Aliff's conduct following the violence inflicted on the infant also showed a "disturbing lack of remorse", Justice Chionh added.
Apart from failing to seek immediate medical attention for Izz Fayyaz, Aliff initially tried to get Nadiah to agree to paying someone to bury the infant and reporting him missing only a year later.
When he could not persuade Nadiah to agree to this, he tried to make sure she would tell the same story of an accidental fall and repeatedly delayed bringing the mother and son to the A&E department, even when they reached the hospital, Justice Chionh said.
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