Jail for life sought for couple over abuse of 5-year-old son, who died

·Senior Reporter
·2-min read
The pet cage which Azlin Arujunah and Ridzuan Mega Abdul Rahman kept their son in. (File photo: Court documents)
The pet cage which Azlin Arujunah and Ridzuan Mega Abdul Rahman kept their son in. (File photo: Court documents)

SINGAPORE — The prosecution is appealing against the "manifestly inadequate" 27-year jail terms meted out by the High Court last year to a man and woman who brutally abused their five-year-old son over four months in 2016 till he died.

At the Court of Appeal on Tuesday (7 September), prosecutors asked for life imprisonment to be imposed on Azlin Arujunah and Ridzuan Mega Abdul Rahman, who are both 29 now. 

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Mohamed Faizal argued for the couple to be convicted of their original murder charge, which carries either the death penalty or imprisonment for life.

Should the appeal against conviction not succeed, the prosecution is also appealing for a life sentence. 

DCP Faizal said, "The horrifying manner of the abuse committed against a completely vulnerable child by his own parents renders this one of the worst types of cases under Section 326 of the Penal Code (for causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), if not the worst, which has come before our courts.

"It is submitted that the only sentence that would speak to the gravity of the offences and the outrage felt by the community is a sentence of life imprisonment," he added.

The Court of Appeal will issue its ruling at a later date.

The 1.05m-tall victim had been pinched with pliers, burnt with boiling-hot water, and confined for a prolonged period in a cage meant for cats, which measured just 91cm long, 58cm wide and 70cm high.

On one occasion, his palm was allegedly burnt with a heated spoon just because he ate milk powder.

And when he collapsed after being scalded in October 2016, Azlin and Ridzuan took him to hospital more than six hours later – simply because they were afraid of being arrested.

The child died in hospital the next day – from burns to three quarters of his total body surface area – at the tender age of five years and nine months.

Azlin and Ridzuan claimed trial in 2019 to murder with common intention, for causing bodily injury sufficient to cause death. The couple opted not to take the witness stand in their defence.

Last year, a High Court judge found that the element of “common intention” for the murder charge was not made out, and convicted the duo of reduced charges of causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means. The couple also pleaded guilty to child abuse charges.

Azlin was jailed for 27 years with an additional 12 months' jail in lieu of caning while Ridzuan was jailed for 27 years with the maximum 24 strokes of the cane.

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