SINGAPORE - He was the one armed with a parang when a group of four men went on a violent robbery spree in Kallang three years ago, leaving an Indian national dead.
But 25-year-old Micheal Garing shifted the blame for the fatal slashing to co-accused Tony Imba, 34, when taking the stand yesterday.
Micheal, Tony and two accomplices, all from Sarawak, attacked and robbed four men between the night of May 29 and the early hours of May 30 in 2010.
One accomplice, Hairee Landak, 22, is serving 33 years in prison. The other, Donny Meluda, also 22, is at large.
Yesterday, Micheal admitted that he was the only one who attacked the first three victims with the parang. But, just as he had told the police after his arrest, he implicated Tony in the death of 41-year-old Shanmuganathan Dillidurai, a construction worker from India.
Micheal testified that the group was at a friend's place in Geylang when he found a parang - 58cm long with a blade measuring 46.5cm - belonging to someone named "Boy" at one of the beds there and showed it to the rest.
He told the court that it was Tony who came up with the idea of committing robbery and was also the one who initiated the attacks on all the four victims.
In the first three robberies - on Indian nationals Sandeep Singh, 27, and Egan Karuppaiah, 46, and Singaporean Ang Jun Heng, 22 - Micheal admitted he was the only one who used the parang on them, to "defend" his accomplices when the victims retaliated.
But he insisted that he was not alone in slashing Mr Shanmuganathan, who suffered 20 external injuries. Micheal said he swung the parang at the Indian national only three times - once above his head to scare him, and then once each to the left arm and back.
He said that after they left the scene of the robbery, Tony snatched the parang from him and went back to the field where the Indian national was lying. Micheal said he did not see what Tony was doing. Neither did he ask the latter later what he had done.
Tony's lawyer, Mr B.J. Lean, put it to Micheal that he alone had slashed the dead man and was lying about Tony taking the parang from him. Mr Lean contended that Micheal decided to put the blame on Tony to save himself, as he knew the last victim had died in the attack.
The lawyer said that when the two accomplices met in prison, Tony had asked Micheal why he implicated him for the slashings. According to the lawyer, Micheal replied that he thought Tony had run away. Micheal denied this too.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Anandan Bala pointed Micheal to a statement he gave to the police after his arrest in June 2010. In it, he said Tony snatched the parang from him and hit Mr Shanmuganathan. The DPP asked him to explain why he told the police earlier he saw Tony hit the dead man.
Micheal replied that he assumed Tony had hit the Indian national because he heard him shout "serigala", or wolf in Malay. He did not elaborate.
The trial continues.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.
Get My Paper for more stories.