SINGAPORE - Two men who had spent more than a year on remand on murder charges were freed yesterday after the counts were reduced to ones of causing hurt.
A district court ruled that the time on remand would serve as the punishment for the lesser crime.
Terrence Goh Chye Huat, 44, was convicted of slapping, punching and kicking Mr Gunasekaran Rengasamy last year and having another person's identity card. He was sentenced to 17 months' jail - the period he had spent on remand.
Redzuan Pupon, 39, was convicted of similarly causing hurt and jailed 15 months. Like Goh's, his sentence was backdated to Feb 15 last year.
The cases against their alleged accomplices - Jamsari Yusuf, 50, and Kung Kwai Cheong 54 - are pending. Jamsari still faces the capital charge while Kung has been accused of abetment of causing hurt with a dangerous weapon.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ruth Wong told the court yesterday that Mr Gunasekaran, who was unemployed, and a friend left a hotel in Lorong 22 Geylang, at 1.58am on Feb 13 last year and went to a coffee shop in Geylang Road.
They met Goh, Redzuan and Kung and all five sat at the same table.
While they were talking, Jamsari arrived and accused Mr Gunasekaran, 43, of being an informant while they were both serving time in prison.
An altercation broke out. Mr Gunasekaran fell after Redzuan slapped him. Jamsari punched and kicked him repeatedly while he was on the ground. Goh also kicked and punched him. During the assault, Kung passed a foldable knife to Jamsari, who used it to attack Mr Gunasekaran.
The victim managed to flee and was later found bleeding by policemen. He was pronounced dead in hospital at about 4.30am.
District Judge Eddy Tham said the men had drunk quite a lot and the attack was another example of how excess alcohol could lead to destructive consequences. He added that he hoped that Goh and Redzuan would learn from this lesson.
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