PUTRAJAYA, Dec 5 — A former lorry driver escaped the gallows when the Federal Court here today commuted his death sentence to 33 years in prison and 12 strokes of the cane for killing a fellow villager by running him over with a car, nine years ago.

Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah, who presided with Federal Court Judges Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Datuk Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal, meted out the sentence on Azami Mohamed, 49.

The three-judge panel used their discretion to do so following the abolition of the mandatory death sentence effective July 4, which allows them to choose between a minimum of 30 years and a maximum of 40 years imprisonment, in lieu of the death sentence.

The father of three was ordered to serve the sentence from the date of his arrest on Oct 2, 2014.

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Reading out the unanimous judgment, Mohamad Zabidin said the High Court did not err in its guilty verdict against the appellant, Azami.

On Nov 23, 2022, the Court of Appeal upheld the Kuala Terengganu High Court’s death sentence meted out to Azami on July 14, 2029, under Section 302 of the Penal Code.

He was found guilty of murdering Rohadi Yaakob, 49, who was a paddy farmer, on a road in Kampung Jelapang, Sungai Tong, Setiu, at 6 pm on Oct 2, 2014.

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Earlier during the proceedings, Deputy Public Prosecutor How May Ling submitted that the court should take into account the 35 injuries sustained by the victim, and also the appellant’s intention to kill him.

“During the incident, there was a verbal argument between the appellant (Azami) and the deceased, where the appellant said “aku akan tepuh mu sampai mapuh” (I will run you over until you die),” she said.

Azami’s lawyer, Mohd Kamaruzaman A Wahab, pleaded in mitigation for the court to give his client a second chance by commuting the death sentence.

“My client has three children. He worked as a lorry driver earning RM1,000 a month, and he has no prior criminal record,” he said. — Bernama