PUTRAJAYA - A pair of lovebirds and their accomplice will spend 30 years in prison after losing their appeal for kidnapping a college student.
Computer technician I. Shatisruben, his unemployed girlfriend G. Vasantha Kumari, both 27, and factory worker Mujahidin Nazardin, 23, were expressionless when they heard the decision.
Court of Appeal judge Justice Aziah Ali, who chaired a three-man panel, said they did not find any merit to set aside their life imprisonment sentence.
"We have reached an unanimous decision. The appeal is dismissed," said Justice Aziah.
Also on the panel were Court of Appeal judges Justice Zakaria Sam and Justice Ahmadi Asnawi.
Shah Alam High Court judge Justice Noor Azian Shaari had sentenced the trio to life imprisonment on June 27, 2013.
Both Shatisruben and Mujahidin were also sentenced to six strokes of the rotan each, a punishment exempted for Vasantha Kumari as she is a woman.
The trio had abducted the female student, now 28, for ransom in front of a house at Jalan 8A, Selayang Baru in Batu Caves at 5.45am on Dec 1, 2010.
They were jointly charged under Section 3 of the Kidnapping Act, which provided the death sentence or life imprisonment with whipping.
DPP Nurshafini Mustafha told reporters here that life imprisonment meant the convicted persons would now have to serve 30 years compared to 20 years previously as stated under the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act.
Earlier, lawyers Sreekant Pillai, who appeared for Mujahidin, Joshua Kevin, who acted for Vasantha Kumari, and S. Sundarajan, who represented Shatisruben, applied to the court to change the charges to Section 365 of Penal Code, which provides a seven-year jail sentence and a fine for kidnapping.
Nurshafini asked the court to uphold the sentence as the victim had clearly explained the role played by each of the accused in the kidnapping.
In her judgment, Justice Noor Azian said there were unreasonable contradictions in their defence.
According to court documents, the student was on her way to a relative's house when she was bundled by one of the accused into an MPV.
She was held captive in a house in Batu Caves for four days before her family managed to raise the RM30,000 (S$10,594) ransom.
After obtaining the money, the abductors released her in Bukit Bintang.