Kota Kinabalu: A 34-year-old convicted murderer Ommar Yacub escaped the hangman's noose yesterday when the Court of Appeal set him free.
The panel of judges comprising Datuk Abdul Wahad Patail, Dato' Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and Datuk David Wong Dak Wah in their ruling allowed the appeal to be made.
"The appeal is allowed and acting on a unanimous decision, the conviction and sentence is set aside," said Justice Abdul Wahad when reading out the verdict after hearing the submission by defence counsel Hamid Ismail.
The appellant Ommar Yacub a local from Kg Sepagaya, Lahad Datu was sentenced to death by hanging on Feb 19, 2010 for murdering Jully Martin, 24 from Long Pasia between 1pm and 3pm on May 12, 2007 in Room No.10, second floor of Lot 34, Lorong 4, Bandaran Berjaya in downtown here.
The accused was charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries the death sentence, upon conviction.
During the trial, High Court judge Datuk Clement Skinner found him guilty for murdering Jully as the Deputy Public Prosecutor Eyu Ghim Siang has proven the case beyond reasonable doubt.
In his submission yesterday, defence counsel Hamid told the court that the defence evidence was improperly treated.
He argued that the accused stabbed the deceased to protect himself from being killed by referring to the case between Wong Teck Choy vs Public Prosecutor.
The main error at the end of the trial committed by the learned High Court judge was that he failed to consider the accused's evidence together with the prosecution's evidence, he said.
Among others, he highlighted that the accused could have suffered a fatal injury had the cut on the neck was deeper and this was confirmed by a doctor.
A witness testified that she's saw injuries on the accused hands due to the fight and it was the deceased who attacked the accused first, furthermore the accused's bloodstain on the knife confirmed he was attacked by the deceased, said the defence counsel.
Another evidence was that the police investigation discovered that the door to a key witness room was locked from outside when it was kicked by the deceased from outside instead of from inside as suggested by the prosecution, he said.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Samihah Rhazali in her submission argued that one of a person who was staying next to Room No. 10 was not called during the trial as she heard quarreling and saw blood flowing out from the room and on the staircase.
She asked the court not to disturb the findings made the learned trial judge and urged that the sentence and convictions to be reaffirmed and uphold.
Meanwhile, Ommar was speechless and confused when the court made the decision to spare his life.
When approached by reporters outside the court room he said: "I have no comment. I give thanks to Allah and I want to apologise to the deceased family...I hope they will not have hard feelings on me."--Courtesy of New Sabah Times