Murderer gets death penalty again despite appeal

He was first given the death penalty.

Following recent changes to the law, he was re-sentenced and given life in prison instead.

But Jabing Kho's relief was short-lived.

Yesterday, in a rare five-man Court of Appeal hearing, he was sent to the gallows again.

Speaking to The New Paper following this latest decision, one of Kho's lawyers, Mr Anand Nalachandran, said: "My client has gone through an emotional roller coaster."

Kho, 30, a Sarawakian, was given the death sentence in 2010 for murdering a construction worker in 2008.

The rag-and-bone man had set upon two Chinese nationals with an accomplice, fellow Sarawakian Galing Kujat, 30.

Kho had struck the head of one of the men with a tree branch. He eventually died in hospital several days later. The other victim escaped with minor injuries. (See report on right.)

But in August 2013, Kho became Singapore's second convicted murderer to be sentenced to life in prison instead of a death penalty.

This followed changes to the law on Nov 14, 2012, when the Penal Code was amended to remove the mandatory death penalty for all instances of murder where the killing is not intentional.

But the prosecution appealed against the life sentence and yesterday, Kho was sent to the gallows again.


Three of the five judges ruled in favour of the death sentence.

Justices of Appeal Chao Hick Tin and Andrew Phang Boon Leong and Justice Chan Seng Onn said Kho had shown a "blatant disregard for human life".

They said: "The sheer savagery and brutality displayed by (Kho) shows that during the course of the attack, (he) just simply could not care less as to whether (Mr Cao) would survive although his intention at the time was only to rob... His actions were utterly vicious."

Justices Lee Seiu Kin and Woo Bih Li, however, disagreed with the majority.

Said Justice Lee: "It was not a case in which (Kho) had repeatedly hit (Mr Cao) after he was down, which would justify the conclusion that he had acted with viciousness and blatant disregard for human life."

Kho was represented by Mr Nalachandran, Mr Josephus Tan and Mr Keith Lim. Mr Nalachandran said that the next recourse will be to file another petition for clemency.

"We will pursue every avenue we can," he said.

This article was first published on Jan 15, 2015.
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