ALOR SETAR - A religious teacher, who was earlier sentenced to 18 years in jail for killing a seven-year-old boy under his charge, will now be hanged. Hanif Mohd Ali, 31, was found guilty by the High Court here of killing Saiful Syazani Saiful Sopfidee in the warden's office at Asrama Putra, Sekolah Rendah Islam Al-Furqan, in Arau between 6pm and midnight on March 31, 2011.
Hanif - who was once described as a "caring person" by the boy's adoptive mother - was originally sentenced to jail in March 2012 after pleading guilty to an amended charge under Section 304(a) of the Penal Code for causing the death.
However, the prosecution appealed to the Court of Appeal and succeeded in reinstating the original charge of murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code.
Yesterday, in his judgement, judicial commissioner Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab said Hanif had throttled the victim by the neck, resulting in cerebral hypoxia that fatally injured the boy.
The defence, he added, had failed to cast any reasonable doubt on the prosecution's case.
"On that day, the accused had called the boy, who was in a healthy condition then, into his room.
"Only two of them were in the room," he said, adding that there were pressure and strangle marks on the boy's neck.
Hanif, who arrived in court clad in white T-shirt and pants, appeared calm when the sentence was handed down.
The boy, who was admitted to the Sultan Bahiyah Hospital, died three days later of multiple head injuries.
According to media reports, the boy's adoptive mother Hazirah Chin said Hanif, who was also a hostel warden at the religious primary school, had helped Saiful Syazani cope with dormitory life, even giving him a watch, a pair of slippers and pocket money.
The prosecution was represented by deputy public prosecutor Badius Zaman Ahmad and Hanif by his counsel Mohd Shakir Khairi.