PUTRAJAYA, May 6 – The Federal Court here Tuesday upheld the death sentence on a van driver for the murder of a waitress on Christmas Day in 2006. A five-member panel chaired by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif also affirmed a High Court decision to sentence K. Kartigeyan to 20 years’ jail and 15 strokes of the rotan on a second charge of raping the woman. In unanimously dismissing Kartigeyan’s final appeal, Md Raus said there was no reason for the court to disturb the findings of the High Court and Court of Appeal.

On Jan 15, 2010, Kartigeyan, 26, was found guilty and sentenced to death by the High Court in Johor Bahru for killing Choo Meng Luh, 21, at the Hock Lam oil palm estate in Gelang Patah, Johor between 1.30am and 8.15am on Dec 25, 2006. He was also convicted and sentenced to 20 years’ jail and ordered to be given 15 strokes of the rotan for committing rape at the same place and time. The Court of Appeal had on March 20, 2012, dismissed Kartigeyan’s appeal against his conviction, death sentence, jail term and the rogan. According to the facts of the case, Kartigeyan was the driver of a van ferrying workers of a fast-food outlet in Singapore.

A co-worker gave evidence that on that night, Choo was the last person in the van enroute to her home in Johor. Her body was found at the oil palm estate by a group of friends who were on their way to go fishing at a pond about 8am on Dec 25, 2006. A forensic pathologist confirmed the deceased suffered multiple injuries on her face, head, chest, abdomen, limbs and genitalia, and that the cause of her death was head injury due to blunt trauma.

A chemist also found traces of semen belonging to Kartigeyan in the deceased’s private part and her panties. At the close of the prosecution case, the High Court ordered Kartigeyan to enter his defence. However, he chose to remain silent and the High Court subsequently convicted him. Kartigeyan was represented by lawyer Tina Ong while Saiful Edris Zainuddin was deputy public prosecutor.

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