By Ho Kit Yen | Free Malaysia Today
Six students from the National Defence University (UPNM) today escaped the gallows on murder-related charges in the death of navy cadet Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain four years ago.
However, High Court judge Azman Abdullah found them guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, under section 304(a) of the Penal Code.
“The court is satisfied that the six accused persons caused injuries to the deceased (Zulfarhan). However, the prosecution failed to prove the ingredient of intention in the murder charges filed against them,” he added.
Muhammad Akmal Zuhairi Azmal, Azamuddin Md Sofi, Muhammad Najib Mohd Razi, Muhammad Afif Najmudin Azahat, and Mohamad Shobirin Sabri were initially tried for murder over Zulfarhan’s death.
The sixth person, Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali, was initially accused of abetting them in the murder of Zulfarhan.
They were convicted of causing Zulfarhan’s death in room 04-10, accommodation block, Jebat Hostel, UPNM, between 4.45am and 5.45am on May 22, 2017.
Meanwhile, 12 other UPNM students, who were accused of assaulting Zulfarhan to force him to confess to stealing a laptop, were found guilty under section 330 of the Penal Code.
Lead counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad said the defence needed time to mitigate against the sentences and the court stood down to let the lawyers prepare their submissions.
The maximum sentence under section 304(a) is a 30-year imprisonment as well as a fine.
Earlier, during mitigation, Amer said the six regretted what they had done to Zulfarhan.
“If they had the power to turn back time, they would use it. But it (Zulfarhan’s death) happened, and now they have to pay the consequences.
“The defence urges the court to temper mercy with justice in our case and impose a jail sentence of between 10 and 12 years, and for them to serve their sentence from their date of arrest in 2017,” he said, adding that the six had been detained in Sungai Buloh.
The other members of the defence team were Ranjit Singh Dhillon, AG Kalidas, Hazizah Kassim, M. Ramachelvam, Azizul Shariman Mat Yusoff, and Zamri Idrus.