Man escapes gallows, gets 35 years jail for beheading co-worker in ritual for winning lottery ticket 

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 11 — A former palm oil estate worker, who beheaded his co-worker for the purpose of getting his skull as part of a ritual to secure a winning lottery ticket, had his death sentence commuted to 35 years in jail.

The Federal Court three-member bench led by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, allowed A. Francis’ review application, under the Revision of the Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act 2023 (Act 847).

Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat ordered the 52-year-old man to serve the sentence from August 26, 1994, the date of his arrest. Francis has been behind bars for 30 years.

The two other judges were Federal Court judges, Datuk Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal and Datuk Nordin Hassan.

Lawyer Abdul Rashid Ismail, representing the accused, appealed to the court to commute Francis’ death sentence to life imprisonment, saying that the case was not the rarest of the rare, as the murder was not an act of terrorism and only involved a single victim.

Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) How May Ling, who was assisted by DPP Ng Siew Wee, objected to the application, and urged the court to maintain the death sentence, saying that the offence was committed in a gruesome, violent and brutal manner.

“The offence was premeditated and done with a motive to sacrifice an innocent life to obtain a human skull for the purpose of getting ‘nombor ekor’,” How said.

Francis was found guilty and sentenced to death by the Temerloh High Court on October 21, 1996, for killing Bangladeshi Ali Ahammed Mohammed Ullah, at the Kim Swee Leong oil palm plantation in Jalan Kuala Lumpur-Kuantan-Mentakab, Temerloh district, Pahang, between 9pm and 11.30pm on August 19, 1994.

He lost his appeals at the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, which were dismissed on September 18, 2002 and March 21, 2005, respectively.

The facts of the case revealed that Francis committed the offence on the advice of a bomoh as part of a ritual. He used a rattan cane to clobber Ali Ahammed’s head until he was unconscious, before decapitating him. He then buried Ali Ahammed’s head in the oil palm plantation.

Francis was one of the 17 prisoners, aged between 45 and 63, whose death sentences and natural life imprisonment sentences were commuted to jail sentences of between 30 years and 35 years.

Twelve prisoners, including three Indonesians — Fernandez, Mohd Nor Fauzi and Buhanuddin Bardan — Moh Chuan Pin, Mohamad Deraman, Ong Lock Soon, Johan Yeob Idris, M.Poobalan, K. Nanda Kumar, S. Satiaselan, Wan Bakri Wan Ahmad and Ranjit Sing a/l Jit Singh, applied to the court to commute the death sentences which were imposed on them, to custodial sentences.

The other four — Nor Jumalis Abdullah@Khamis, Ku Izham Ku Adnan, Suhirman Maksom (Indonesian) and A. Gunabalan — filed the review applications to commute their natural life imprisonment sentences.

Poobalan, Nanda Kumar, Fernandez, and Burhanuddin were each given 12 strokes of the rattan.

These 17 prisoners were convicted by the courts for murder, drug trafficking and discharging firearms while committing robbery offences. — Bernama



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