Filipino man gets death for Brunei murder

Filipino man gets death for Brunei murder
PHOTO: Brunei Times/ANN

The High Court has sentenced a Filipino man to death by hanging after it found him guilty of murder.

In 2013, Cyrille Navarro Tagapan, 31, was charged with the murder of Abdullah Hj Hamid on August 1, 2012.

"In our judgment, the event bears all the hallmarks of a brutal murder and the defendant is convicted of the charge accordingly," the High Court judges said. "The sentence we are obliged to pass is death and we order that it be in accordance to section 239 of the Criminal Procedure Code." The said section states: "When any person is sentenced to death the sentence shall direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead, but shall not state the place where, nor the time when, the sentence is to be carried out."

Tagapan claimed trial to the charge of murder of Abdullah Hj Hamid on grounds that it was self-defence and an accident. He, however, pleaded guilty to the other charges of intention to burn down the deceased's house and two counts of theft.

The prosecution argued that the defendant intended to kill when he used a knife to inflict the injuries on the neck of Abdullah.

In their judgment, panel judges Justice Dato Paduka Steven Chong and Justice Dato Paduka Hairol Arni, said the court was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Tagapan, in using a knife with considerable force to inflict three deep cuts on Abdullah's neck, clearly intended to cause death.

The court accepted the pathologist's findings that the pattern of these injuries shows they were caused in a systematic manner and not haphazardly. The court said that the cut to the main blood vessels of Abdullah's neck would have bled profusely rendering him unconscious and death would have occurred "within a matter of minutes".

It further accepted that the cause of death was shock and haemorrhage following multiple cut injuries, and that Tagapan did not have, during examination upon arrest, recent scars on his body indicative of any defence injuries.

"Having seen and heard the defendant testify and balancing our observation of his demeanour against the evidence in totality, our conclusion is that the defendant was not a truthful witness," said the judges.

They rejected a narrative given by the defendant of how he "accidentally and unintentionally stabbed" Abdullah's neck in self-defence.

They cited evidence from the pathologist's report that these fatal injuries to the neck could not have been inflicted as described by Tagapan as the doctor said that the injuries were parallel to each other and had been in "a systematic manner and not haphazardly".

"We believe that (Tagapan) having overpowered (Abdullah) either by physical force or by threatening him with a knife he armed himself with, first tied up (Abdullah) with shoelaces to render him defenceless before inflicting the fatal injuries on the neck of the deceased," said the judges.

Tagapan's story of self-defence and accident in the face of a knife attack by Abdullah was undermined by the evidence that the latter suffered deep cuts on his left hand, indicating that he was the one who was attempting to defend himself from being knifed by Tagapan, the judges said.

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