PUTRAJAYA, Nov 29 ― The Court of Appeal today upheld the conviction and death sentence on a businessman for the murder of a female marketing executive 10 years ago.
A three-man bench chaired by Justice Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, in a unanimous decision, dismissed Shahril Jaafar's appeal.
The 35-year-old man was appealing against the decision of the Alor Setar High Court on August 9, last year, in finding him guilty for murdering Chee Gaik Yap, 25, and on the death sentence imposed on him for the offence.
In his decision, Justice Mohd Zawawi said the finding of the High Court was supported by evidence, adding that the trial judge did not commit any appealable error that warranted the Court of Appeal's intervention.
The other two judges presiding on the bench were Justices Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi and Datuk Kamardin Hashim.
Shahril was accused of committing the offence near Cinta Sayang Club in Taman Ria Jaya, Sungai Petani, between 5.30pm, January 14 and 3.05am, January 15, 2006.
He was initially acquitted by the Alor Setar High Court on June 25, 2013 at the end of the prosecution's case without being called to enter his defence.
However, on appeal by the prosecution, the Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal and ordered Shahril to enter his defence.
Chee had gone jogging with her younger sister at Kelab Cinta Sayang when she was abducted. Her semi-nude body was found nine hours later in a bush near the jogging track on January 15, 2006.
Earlier, Shahril's counsel Shamsul Sulaiman submitted that his client was not the one that caused Chee's death, although he had admitted that he had met the girl on the evening of the incident but the girl was still alive when she left him.
Deputy public prosecutor Hamdan Hamzah argued that Shahril's defence, with the unsworn statement given from the accused dock, was an afterthought to escape from being convicted for the murder.