Ex-tow truck operator wins murder appeal in ‘case of mistaken identity’

The Court of Appeal was told that a man convicted of murder ‘looks like’ his brother.

PUTRAJAYA: A former tow truck operator was spared the gallows today for the alleged murder of a trader six years ago.

Counsel for B Ruban had earlier today told the appellate court his prosecution was a case of mistaken identity.

Rajpal Singh said Ruban, 31, was not present when the murder took place but his brother Vickneswaran was, adding that the judge had insisted an alibi notice was given as defence.

“We are of the view such notice need not be given as he was only in the vicinity of the scene. He only came to the place soon after the incident,” he said.

Rajpal said it was a case of mistaken identity as the brothers looked alike and that the trial judge accepted the evidence of prosecution witness I Sathiamoorthy, a close friend of the deceased, R Sathaya Devan, 23.

He also said there was no identification parade held to identify the suspect and that Sathiamoorthy only identified the accused in the dock some three-and-a-half years later.

Another counsel, Amer Amzah Arshad, said there was material contradiction in the prosecution’s case which could not be reconciled as proper evaluation of the evidence was not carried out.

“Despite this, the trial judge held the evidence of Sathiamoorthy to be credible,” Amer said.

A three-member Court of Appeal bench chaired by Nor Bee Ariffin said the High Court’s conviction last year was unsafe.

“Having heard the submissions and going through the appeal records, this case warrants appellate intervention. We allow the appeal and set aside the conviction,” said Nor Bee.

Ruban was jointly charged with another person still at large for the murder of Sathaya at about 2.20pm on April 12, 2014 near a housing scheme for the poor in Jinjang Utrara, Kuala Lumpur.

The Shah Alam High Court judge had convicted Ruban on grounds the defence was a bare denial.