SINGAPORE, Aug 11 — A 29-year-old man, who killed his girlfriend’s nine-month-old son out of frustration when the infant started crying, was sentenced to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane on Thursday (Aug 11) over the incident in 2019.

Mohamed Aliff Mohamed Yusoff was found guilty of a capital murder charge last month.

The Singaporean could have faced the death penalty — which the prosecution did not seek — or life imprisonment and caning.

He appeared in court dressed in a purple prison jumpsuit, with several family members present as well.

High Court judge Mavis Chionh told the court that under the precedent case of Kho Jabing, the death penalty is only appropriate when an offender exhibits viciousness or demonstrates a blatant disregard for human life.

She found that the current circumstances did not warrant a death sentence.

Kho, a Sarawakian, was hanged in 2016 after he killed a Chinese construction worker during a robbery by bashing the victim on the head repeatedly with a tree branch.

On Thursday, the judge nonetheless stressed that no caregiver or parent “has any licence to inflict violence with impunity” on young children under their charge, and that Aliff’s actions after the killing “showed a disturbing lack of remorse”.

The prosecution further noted that under the Prisons Act, the Minister of Home Affairs must review a prisoner’s case after he or she has served 20 years of their sentence. The minister may then direct for a remission order to be imposed.

Typically, prisoners who show good conduct are allowed to be released after serving two-thirds of their sentence. They will then be issued with a conditional remission order.

The case

Aliff claimed trial to the murder charge, alleging that the boy struck his head after accidentally falling from Aliff’s arms.

Justice Chionh rejected these claims, finding that Aliff deliberately pushed Izz Fayyaz Zayani Ahmad’s head against the floorboard of his van at least twice on the night of Nov 7, 2019.

The judge said he could not stick to a consistent version of events, and his behaviour after the murder was consistent with someone “labouring under the guilty knowledge” that he had killed Izz and feared being discovered.

Izz’s cause of death was a traumatic intracranial haemorrhage, which was consistent with blunt force trauma being inflicted on the boy’s head and face.

The killing happened after dinner at Wisteria Mall where Izz spilled his mother’s drink, prompting an argument between her and Aliff about how to discipline him.

She agreed to let Aliff care for Izz overnight because she had work the next day and her mother could not care for the child then.

Aliff drove his van to the multi-storey car park at Block 840A Yishun Street 81. He alleged that Izz struggled and fell out of his arms, hit his head on the van floorboard and bounced before falling onto the floor there.

He later met Izz’s mother, Nadiah Abdul Jalil, around midnight. They drove aimlessly in the area before she turned around from the front passenger seat and found her child lying motionless at the back of the van.

Aliff then suggested that they pay someone to bury the boy and report him as missing a year later but Nadiah refused to do so.

He then delayed the efforts of Izz’s mother to take the infant to the National University Hospital’s accident and emergency department.

It took 36 minutes for them to get there after reaching the hospital’s car park. Aliff cleaned himself and brushed his teeth and also made a detour to discard his mobile phone in some bushes.

He was pronounced dead 10 minutes after being handed over to a medical personnel.

When police officers arrived at NUH and spoke to Aliff, he told them the same version of events he had told Nadiah.

He also claimed that they decided to take Izz to NUH after the boy lost consciousness, and that he had given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to Izz before they got to the hospital.

The prosecution was led by Deputy Public Prosecutors Han Ming Kuang and Lim Shin Hui.

Aliff was represented by defence counsels Ramachandran Shiever Subranamium, Kanagavijayan Nadarajan and Stephen Wong. — TODAY