By V. Anbalagan | Free Malaysia Today

The Court of Appeal said the High Court had committed no appealable error in convicting the three for kidnap and murder.

The Court of Appeal today upheld the conviction of a former clerk and two men for the kidnap and murder of a businesswoman whose body was dumped over the Second Penang Bridge nine years ago but commuted the death sentence to 35 years’ jail each.

Justice Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, who led a three-member bench, handed down the sentence on ex-clerk A. Malarvili, 32, J. Sunil Singh, 37, and C. Kavin Mukilan, 30, for the murder of Balveer Kaur.

Sunil, a former employee of Balveer, and Kavin were also sentenced to be whipped 12 times as they were below 50 years of age.

The three were sentenced to another 35 years for kidnapping to obtain a ransom from Balveer’s family, and Sunil and Kavin were sentenced to another three strokes of the rotan.

The total number of lashings that will be imposed on them is 15. Malarvili was spared whipping for both offences as the law prohibits such punishment on female offenders.

Since the jail terms are to run concurrently, the three will serve 35 years from Feb 15, 2015.

Vazeer, who sat with Justices Wong Kian Kheong and Noorin Badaruddin, said the High Court had committed no appealable error in convicting the three for kidnap and murder.

On Dec 27, 2018, trial judge Zulkifli Bakar sentenced them to death for both offences. However, the bench today substituted capital punishment for a jail term as pleaded by their lawyers.

In his broad judgment, Vazeer said their lawyers had conceded that there was an unlawful abduction, but there was no evidence of a demand for a RM2 million ransom.

“However, two phone calls were made two hours after the abduction by a lady. The trial judge held that there was overwhelming evidence that it was Malarvili,” he said.

Vazeer said the trial judge made a correct finding in calling for the three to enter their defence for murder, and they were not denied a fair trial.

“They knew very well the prosecution’s case against them. They had intentionally caused the death of the deceased by suffocating her by covering her nose and mouth and throwing the body in the sea,” he said.

The three were jointly charged with the common intention of kidnapping Balveer from a construction site near Sunway Pyramid in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, on Feb 13, 2015.

They were also charged with murdering Balveer at about 3.55am on Feb 14, 2015.

Balveer, who was 60 at the time of the incident, was involved in a marble and granite business together with her husband, Amarjit Singh.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Noorhisham Jaafar, who had urged the court to retain the death penalty for both offences, said they had lured Balveer to the construction site on the pretext of discussing business, only to bundle her in a car before her body was disposed of in the sea.

“There was a blatant disregard for human life,” said Noorhisham, who was assisted by Solehan Noratikah Ismail.

Malarvili and Kavin were represented by lawyers Jasmine Cheong and Affifuddin Ahmad Hafifi, while counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad, Chew Jee San, Kitson Foong, and Joshua Tay appeared for Sunil.