Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Self-defence claim hard to believe, says judge

July 23, 2008

By Khushwant Singh

A JUDGE expressed scepticism yesterday at the claims of an accused murderer who said he was forced to kill his lover in self defence.

Seafood-stall owner Eu Lim Hoklai said his China-born mistress was standing behind him when she stabbed him repeatedly in the stomach following an argument two years ago.

But Justice Kan Ting Chiu said the story was hard to believe.

'It would be so much simpler for her to stab you in your back instead of reaching over to pull up your shirt and then stabbing you on the front right side of the abdomen.'

The High Court judge made the comments on the ninth day of Eu's trial for murder. The 54-year-old is accused of killing Madam Yu Hongjin, 30 in her Ang Mo Kio massage parlour on June 18, 2006. Eu suffered nine stab wounds which the prosecution claims were self-inflicted.

Meanwhile, a re-enactment of the killing, which was set to include an aspiring actress playing the role of Madam Yu and a cardboard cut-out of the knife, was not performed yesterday.

The judge adjourned the trial at about 4pm after Eu's lawyer, Mr Subhas Anandan, said his client had slept badly and was feeling giddy.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Winston Cheng has set up a cubicle and massage bed in one corner of the courtroom for the re-enactment, which observers considered unusual.

Calling DPP Cheng 'the most drama counsel' he has come across, Justice Kan gave permission for the re-enactment but said it should have been done during the initial investigations and not at the trial two years later.

'Then, memories would be fresh,' he pointed out.

The judge also had strong words when DPP Cheng asked for a video camera from the High Court to film the re-enactment.

Justice Kan flatly refused and said: 'This court's position is one of strict neutrality. We cannot be helping either side.

'If you don't know this, you better learn it now.'

Unlike previous days, the public gallery was packed yesterday with about 50 people.

The trial continues today.

[DPP Cheng's colleagues must be having a lot of fun teasing the most "drama counsel" in Singapore. Meanwhile Jack Neo, Eric Khoo, and Roystan Tan better watch out. Competition is in the wings. Wonder if Colin Goh was ever called the most "drama counsel" in Singapore.]

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