Public Prosecutor v Astro bin Jakaria

JudgeChan Seng Onn J
Judgment Date29 April 2010
Neutral Citation[2010] SGHC 131
Citation[2010] SGHC 131
Docket NumberCriminal Case No 6 of 2010
Published date03 May 2010
Hearing Date23 February 2010,22 February 2010,24 February 2010,25 February 2010,18 February 2010,26 February 2010,19 February 2010,01 March 2010,04 March 2010,17 February 2010,05 March 2010
Plaintiff CounselNg Cheng Thiam and Cassandra Cheong (Attorney-General's Chambers)
Date29 April 2010
Defendant CounselShashi Nathan and Tania Chin (M/s Harry Elias Partnership) and Satwant Singh (Sim Mong Teck & Partners)
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Subject MatterCulpable Homicide,Murder,Criminal Law,Sudden Fight,Special Exceptions,Provocation,Offences
Chan Seng Onn J: Introduction

The accused, Astro Bin Jakaria, is charged as follows:


Between the 19th day of June 2008, at about 8.26pm, and the 21st day of June 2008, at about 6.15pm, at Block 508 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 #09-2602, Singapore, did commit murder by causing the death of one Abdul Khalid Bin Othman, male, 61 years old, to wit, by strangling the said Abdul Khalid Bin Othman with a ligature, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under section 302 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

The background facts The relationship between the Deceased and the Accused

The accused, Astro Bin Jakaria (FIN No G8098952R) (“the Accused”), is an East Malaysian who first came to Singapore on August 2007. He first met the deceased, Abdul Khalid Bin Othman (NRIC No S2148066E) (“the Deceased”), sometime in September 2007 while working as a cleaner for Sengent Company. The Accused referred to the Deceased as “Kak Mie” and knew that the Deceased was a transvestite. In the course of the following one month, their relationship developed rapidly and they became closer.

In October 2007, due to poor job performance, Sengent Company terminated the Accused’s employment. The Accused requested for the Deceased’s assistance as he no longer had a place to stay. This led to the Deceased inviting the Accused to stay with him at his flat. Thereafter, the Accused resided at the Deceased’s flat until he left for Malaysia on 6 November 2007.

The Accused returned to Singapore on several occasions and on each visit, he stayed at the Deceased’s flat until his return to Malaysia. The Accused’s passport (D4) showed that he had entered Singapore on 14 December 2007 and exited on 19 December 2007. He re-entered Singapore on 24 December 2007 and left on 29 December 2007.

On 9 January 2008, the Accused again returned to Singapore and visited the Deceased at his flat. The Deceased recommended a factory job in Tampines which was taken up by the Accused. Afterwhich, the Accused stayed at the company’s accommodation until he left Singapore on 24 February 2008. This was the only period of time the Accused was employed in Singapore after his termination by Sengent Company.

For the duration of each stay in Singapore, the Accused had never contributed to the rent of the Deceased’s flat. In other words, the Deceased provided free lodging to the Accused whenever the latter was in Singapore.

It was evident that the Deceased was deeply caring towards the Accused. Apart from providing him with shelter, the Deceased’s generosity extended to buying him new clothes, cooking him meals and giving him money when he was short of it (and this was usually the case given the Accused’s unemployment).

The Deceased lived in a one bedroom HDB flat. His flatmates, one Taher Bin Ahmad and one Kak Timah, slept in the living room/hall of the flat. The Accused slept in the Deceased’s bedroom and shared the same bed with the Deceased during his stay.

It was the Accused’s evidence that from the first night he started sharing the bed with the Deceased, the latter would touch and caress him to arouse his sexual desires. The Accused, prior to 19 June 2008, had always warded off his sexual advances.

Events leading up to the scuffle between the Deceased and the Accused on 19 June 2008

The Accused returned to Singapore again on Sunday 15 June 2008 and stayed at the Deceased’s flat.

At about 6 pm on 19 June 2008, the Accused met the Deceased at the latter’s workplace at the SMRT Clubhouse. The Accused was told to wait until the Deceased was done with work. While waiting in the store room, the Accused drank one whole bottle of Royal Stout and one third of a bottle of Carlsberg.

At about 8.26 pm, the Deceased and the Accused left for the Deceased’s flat. They reached the flat at about 9 p.m., after which, the Deceased gave the Accused $20 to buy some drinks. The Accused then proceeded to a nearby coffee shop and bought a bottle of Carlsberg (P234) and a bottle of Guinness Stout (P235).

The Accused returned to the flat at about 9.05 pm to 9.10 pm. When he reached the flat, he saw the Deceased clad in a red towel and was applying lotion to his thighs and hands. The Accused then placed the drinks he purchased aside and sat on the bed.

The Deceased got up and sat next to the Accused. He started to caress the Accused’s hands and thighs and attempted to touch his penis. The Accused pushed the Deceased’s hand away and told him ‘Nanti’, which means ‘wait’ in Malay.

The Accused then requested for a bottle opener and a glass on two separate occasions. The Deceased obliged and went back and forth twice to get the requested items from the kitchen. After opening and pouring his drink into the glass, the Accused placed the glass on the floor and then removed his T-shirt as he felt warm.

The Deceased left the room again and brought back a bottle of Drambuie (a type of whisky liquor) (P236). The Accused declined the Deceased’s offer to have the liquor as it was too strong for him. The Deceased then took a sip of the said liquor and sat beside the Accused. The Accused drank the whole bottle of Guinness Stout (P235).

The Accused then put on a concert CD into the VCD player. The Deceased, within a few minutes, changed the concert CD to a “blue” VCD which showed man-on-man pornography and proceeded to fondle the Accused. He removed the Accused’s jeans, pulled down his boxers and started performing fellatio on the Accused. All the while, the Accused lay on his back and imagined that it was a woman who was performing fellatio on him. He became sexually aroused and sustained an erection.

The Deceased then stopped. The Accused then realised that the Deceased was sitting next to him. When the Accused asked “Why?”, the Deceased propositioned to him and said, “Come play my backside”. The Accused flatly declined, saying, “I don’t want, I’m not used to this” and pulled up his boxers. He then went to take his pair of jeans that was hung behind the bedroom door.

The Deceased tried to cajole the Accused. He also mentioned that he had given the Accused what he wanted and provided him with lodging. As he started caressing the Accused, the Accused pushed him and he fell backwards into the cupboard and let out a scream. As the Deceased tried to stand up, the Accused saw the Deceased gripping something in his hand and was looking angrily at him.

The Accused then punched the Deceased’s face. The Deceased fell again and covered his face with his hand while mumbling something and trying to stand up. The Accused pounced on him again and gripped the Deceased from the back of his neck. The Deceased’s head was positioned under the Accused’s right armpit and the Deceased was then pushed onto the bed.

The Accused went up on to the bed, held the Deceased’s right shoulder, crossed over the Deceased’s body and positioned himself to the right side of the Deceased. He gripped the Deceased’s neck using his left arm and punched the Deceased again. His grip was released as the Deceased was struggling. The Deceased then used his right elbow to strike the Accused’s chest region while struggling at the same time. The Accused fell backwards and tried to grab hold of the Deceased. The Deceased scratched the Accused’s left cheek, left arm and left hand.

The Accused then punched the Deceased’s chest. The Deceased fell backwards onto the mattress. He tried to sit up and the Accused pushed the Deceased again causing him to fall on the floor beside the bed with one foot on the bed. The Deceased groaned in pain.

During the course of the scuffle, the Deceased let out a shriek which alerted his neighbours, one Madam Sua Joo Eng (PW13) and one Madam Sarah Binte Aman (PW21). The Deceased’s denture was also dislodged from his mouth at some point of the scuffle. The Accused, in his attempt to prevent the Deceased from calling the police, grabbed a long-sleeved brown striped T-shirt and tied up the Deceased. The details of how this was done and how it caused the Deceased’s death will be dealt with below.

Sequence of events after the Deceased was tied up by the Accused

After tying up and immobilising the Deceased, the Accused removed the Deceased’s gold bracelet (P154) from his wrist, took his own jacket (P243), and placed it into a black sling bag (P242). He then gathered the clutter of clothes that had been strewn on the floor in the course of the scuffle and hurriedly placed them into the wardrobe. While doing so, the Accused found a gold chain (P162) belonging to the Deceased and took it. He also appropriated the Deceased’s handphone (P146).

As the Accused exited the bedroom, he switched off the lights and locked the bedroom door by pressing the lock and shutting the door behind him. He later hailed a cab and went to Geylang. There, he checked into Hotel 12 Pte Ltd under the name of one Lawrence Anak Nyuak and stayed there from 19 June 2008 until the time of his arrest. All the while, the Accused had his passport in his possession.

Events leading up to the discovery of Deceased’s body

After being told by the Deceased’s flatmate Taher Bin Ahmad (“Taher”) (PW26) that the Deceased was not seen inside the flat since 19 June 2008 and being informed by the Deceased’s sister, one Norita Binte Abdul Latiff that the Deceased was not contactable on 20 June 2008, the Deceased’s adopted daughter, Aini Binte Karim (“Aini”) (PW29) made several attempts to contact the Deceased by calling his mobile phone and residential number.

On 21 June 2008 at around 2 pm, Aini decided to lodge a missing person report with the police. Her boyfriend, Ishak Bin Mohamed (“Ishak”) (PW24) however suggested that they should first inspect the Deceased’s flat before lodging the report.

At about 5.45 pm, Aini and Ishak arrived at the Deceased’s flat and let themselves in using Taher’s keys. As Taher had earlier informed them that he did not have...

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2 books & journal articles
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2013, December 2013
    • 1 December 2013
    ...v Ow Ah Cheng[1992] 1 SLR(R) 307; Tan Chee Hwee v Public Prosecutor[1993] 2 SLR(R) 493; and Public Prosecutor v Astro bin Jakaria[2010] 3 SLR 862. 46 [2011] 3 SLR 653. Similarly, in Public Prosecutor v Thamayanthi[2001] SGHC 374 at [9], although the court found that the accused intended to ......
  • Criminal Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2010, December 2010
    • 1 December 2010
    ...said to have given valid consent. Provocation 12.16 Two High Court cases will be discussed here: Public Prosecutor v Astro bin Jakaria [2010] 3 SLR 862 (‘Astro’) and Public Prosecutor v Pathip Selvan s/o Sugumaran [2010] SGHC 335 (‘Pathip Selvan’). In order to successfully raise the defence......

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