SINGAPORE : Took Leng How has been sentenced to death after being found guilty for the murder of eight-year old girl, Huang Na, in October last year.
The verdict on the 22-year-old vegetable packer was handed out by Judge Lai Kew Chai at the Supreme Court on Friday.
Reading out his verdict, the judge said: "Based on the evaluation of the evidence, in particular the conflicting medical evidence, the defence has failed to prove...that the accused was suffering from schizophrenia, or indeed mental disorder of any kind."
In his statement of nearly 30 pages, Justice Lai Kew Chai pointed out that the forensic evidence not only supported the prosecution's case but also that Took had admitted to sexually assaulting Huang Na, smothering her to death with his bare hands. He therefore found the accused guilty as charged and imposed the mandatory death penalty - by hanging.
So yet another high-profile capital case draws to an end. And the end is as Mr Wang had predicted more than a month ago. Unlike the case of Shanmugam Murugesu, however, no one seems to be calling for Took to be saved from the gallows.
It is quite possible that some Shanmugam sympathisers can nevertheless logically choose not to sympathise with Took. For example, some Shanmugam sympathisers may take the position that the death sentence is inappropriate for drug trafficking, but appropriate for murderers. Thus they can logically and honestly say that in their view, Shanmugam should not have been hanged, but that Took should.
However, other Shanmugam sympathisers supported Shanumgam on the basis that capital punishment is intrinsically objectionable, whatever the offence is (and this position would be fully consistent with that of, say, Amnesty International). Logically speaking, this category of Shanmugam sympathisers should oppose Took being sentenced to death.
These persons should now come forward and express their shock or distress at the court's decision. They should now be busy signing petitions asking the President to grant Took clemency. And when Took is finally hanged, they should light candles, keep public vigils, say prayers and weep tears of grief and anguish.
Should they not?
I could be wrong. But somehow I don't think that is going to happen. Murderers of 8-year-old children just don't get that kind of public sympathy.
Suppose you were one of those people who had followed Shanmugam's case closely. You had then concluded that capital punishment was simply, utterly wrong - that the death sentence should be completely abolished. How do you feel now about Took's death sentence? You might be feeling differently.
And if you do - well, what can we conclude from this?
Most likely, that you had let your emotions fool you during Shan's case. All those sad stories and pictures in the media, about his poor mother and his poor children kneeling in the streets etc. Yes, it was really tragic. And you let those tragic elements lead you into thinking in a certain way about the death sentence. A way which you now .... reject?
Don't forget that Took has a mother too. And a wife, and a two-year-old son. Why aren't you supporting him? Where do you really stand, on capital punishment?