SINGAPORE - A 23-year-old Malaysian man on Tuesday became the first convicted murderer in Singapore to be sentenced to life imprisonment instead of a mandatory death penalty.
This follows changes made to the law last year giving judges the discretion to impose either the capital punishment or life imprisonment for certain categories of murder.
The case of Fabian Adiu Edwin, a construction worker from Sabah who killed a security guard during a 2008 robbery, was the first time a sentencing judge has had a choice in deciding the sentence for murder.
In imposing life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane on Tuesday, Justice Chan Seng Onn considered Fabian's young age and sub-normal IQ.
Fabian was convicted of murder by the High Court in September 2011 and given the then mandatory death penalty. This was upheld by the Court of Appeal in August last year.
However, Fabian was among some 30 condemned prisoners given a lifeline when hangings were put on hold pending a review of the mandatory death penalty which started in July 2011.
In May this year, his case was sent back to the High Court judge to decide the appropriate sentence to be handed down under the amended law.
There are four clauses to cover different categories of murder. Before the changes, which came into effect in January this year, the death penalty was mandatory for all categories of murder.