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Tinker Barber Soldier Spy

plus minus 48 degrees wobble

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Singapore's Home Ministry and Judicial Apparatchik made freaking jackasses

Dr Chee Soon Juan has already said it, and got $6,000 plus a day in the slammer (altogether a week in lieu) for it. So would I dare mouth it too? Why not? It's already gotten too bloody obvious for all and sundry except the most insistently thick skinned to ignore. The judicial apparatchik and the whole system of rule of law in Singapore can no longer be deemed to be impartial and independent. Familial relationships, networking, wealth, and even ethnic origin, has so colored the concept of equal justice for all to such an extent that assertions such as "nobody can be allowed to swing their arm save short of someone else's nose" turn rancid the second it leaves Wong Kan Seng's lips. Absolute power and corruption are such moot bedfellows.

You don't need to be a Nobel Laureate to be able to reason, when double murders are committed, one after the other, with a relatively short lapse of time in between, by one and the same person, that even if it wasn't beyond reasonable doubt the first murder was pre-meditated, the second can but only be deemed to be, unless it can be proven that it was committed with a weapon of mass destruction, the murderer had genocidal tendencies, or else transforms into something uncannily green and insurmountably strong like the HULK when provoked. In other words, the motivation for the second murder is pivotal in determining whether pre-meditation can conceivably be construed for both. The burden should then be on the defense to positively prove lack of motive for the second murder in the backdrop of the first (including the motive of silencing a witness that could produce a potentially damning 'frontline' insight into the initial murder). The defense could of course then attempt to allude to the possibility that the murders may not have been committed by one and the same person. Lightning has been known to strike twice, but in such dastardly close timing and proximity? I'll buy that argument when I win Lotto America.

Two double murder trials involving Singapore and Australia have ended, pending appeals. The following reports were lifted off two blogs, here and here where I also left comments.

Friday, August 04, 2006
Australian prosecutor seeks two life sentences for Tiwary's double murder

Australian prosecutors have asked the Sydney Supreme Court to sentence 27-year-old Singaporean Ram Tiwary to spend the rest of his life behind bars for the double murder of his two Singaporean flat mates.

Sentencing submissions were heard on Thursday and the Supreme Court will hand down Tiwary's sentence later this year.

Tiwary had been convicted of bludgeoning to death his two flat mates - fellow Singaporeans Tan Poh Chan and Tay Chow Lyang.

All three men had shared an apartment near the University of New South Wales, where they were students.

Crown Prosecutor Tim Hoyle asked the court to sentence Tiwary to two concurrent life sentences without parole.

But defense lawyer Peter Doyle argued for a shorter 30-year jail sentence.

He stressed that Tiwary had no previous convictions and was a decent young man till the double murder in September 2003.

While the judge agreed that the murders "came out of the blue", he had serious reservations about Tiwary's character.

Foreshadowing a harsh sentence, the judge, Justice Michael Adams, made it clear that he viewed Tiwary as a dangerous man.

He described the two murders as acts of extreme wickedness and it followed that the perpetrator was an extremely wicked man.

The judge also noted that Tiwary had waited before committing the second murder, suggesting a degree of pre-meditation.

Regardless of the sentence handed down, defense sources say Tiwary plans to appeal his conviction.

ST June 30, 2006
Prosecution gets what it asked for in McCrea case
By Chong Chee Kin

THE Michael McCrea case is special, almost as special as the relationship he shared with the man he killed.

First, the Australian government asked the Singapore Government to promise it will not execute McCrea if he is extradited. Then it became apparent that he would not have faced the gallows anyway, since the charges brought against him would not have led to an execution on conviction.

McCrea's lawyer Kelvin Lim dismissed the suggestion that the charges were reduced because of the Government's promise to Australia. He insists that the facts support his argument that McCrea did not commit murder.

'It's quite clear that it is not murder. How can it be murder when there was a sudden and grave provocation from the victims? McCrea was attacked and hit back in self-defense,' he said.

Truth be told, I was remanded at IMH twice (two and three weeks) for observation. The shrinks there have condemned me as a paranoid schizophrenic, the most serious type there is (but not requiring institutionalization nor supervision? and with me simply refusing to take medication? maybe they prefer me to dig my own grave and save the expense to keep me alive?), that I probably see a murder in every death. This can hardly be true. I rarely pay attention to murder reports, double murders included. I hardly read the papers anymore. It was only when the trial of Michael McCrea ended, and I read the reference to it on Mr Wang's blog, and the ridiculous ST report that it irked. But it was the guilty verdict pronounced on Ram Puneet Tiwary that got the 'ink' flowing. So the reports above and below are actually new to me. In my not too humble opinion, if IMH and Wong Kan Seng would condescend to allow me to hold any form of opinion, double murders are open and shut cases, that is, unless I win Lotto America. Pre-meditation does not simply impute intent and planning. Pre-meditation includes fudging the details to make it possible to mount a credible defense when the case eventually goes to trial, and (sometimes) the disposure of the body. I'll try my level best to forego direct local media takes, and lift only from blog scoops and independent newscasts. At least what I managed to find.

(no spell-checks hereafter)

By Chris Summers
BBC News Online

A wealthy British businessman in Australia is fighting extradition to Singapore where he could face the death penalty if convicted of a bizarre double murder.

Michael McCrea, 44, from Nottingham, left his luxury apartment in Singapore's Balmoral Park district in January only days after his chauffeur, Kho Nai Guan, 46, and a Chinese woman known only as Miss Susan were found strangled.

Their decomposing bodies were found in a car parked in Orchard Towers, a seedy corner of Singapore popular among American sailors trawling for Thai and Filipino prostitutes.

Whoever killed them left dried flowers and other love tokens around the body of the woman, who is believed to be an illegal immigrant and was Mr Kho's girlfriend.

Straits Times reporter Chong Chee Kin said love letters, a champagne glass and a corkscrew were among the items found in the car.

Singapore says it has a prima facie case against Mr McCrea, a successful investment adviser and tax expert who was arrested in Melbourne in May along with his personal assistant Audrey Ong, 22.

But Mr McCrea has protested his innocence and has written to an Australian newspaper reporter giving his version of events.

Sue Hewitt, a reporter with the Sunday Herald Sun, told BBC News Online: "He said his chauffeur was involved with the Triads (Chinese organised criminals) and had gambling debts.

"He said he was there with Miss Ong when there was a knock at the door and two men with Samurai swords came in and chopped him on the head and hand."

She said: "He said he passed out in a pool of blood and when he came to the men had taken Mr Kho and his Chinese girlfriend."

Ms Hewitt said: "According to the prison authorities he does have injuries which are consistent with that claim."

Singapore has one of the highest per capita rates number of executions in the world with around 25 people a year being hanged for murder or drug trafficking.

The government has promised Australia it will waive the death penalty if Mr McCrea is returned and convicted.

But his solicitor, Erskine Rodan, said the Singapore government was not able to guarantee this undertaking because the judiciary was independent.

Mr Rodan said: "In the past the president has commuted some death sentences but never in a case like this."

He said it was the first time Singapore had sought to extradite a foreigner for trial on a capital murder charge and he said he had grave misgivings about Singapore's undertaking not to impose a death penalty.

Mr McCrea and Miss Ong face a four-day extradition hearing in Melbourne in November.

Mr McCrea was arrested when police attended a domestic dispute at his home in Melbourne, where he lived with his Australian wife, Brunetta, who is five months pregnant, and his son Callum, who is three.

They checked his passport and then discovered he was wanted in Singapore.

Mr McCrea, who was known in Singapore as Mike Townsend, ran a company called April Investments which helped many British and Australian expatriates with their tax problems.

The publisher of The Expat magazine, in which he advertised, said Mr McCrea was appealing to the 100,000 British, American and Australian expatriates who work in Singapore.

Chris Cheney said: "He was advising people on how to reduce their tax exposure when they returned home."

Because many expats receive tax-free salaries and other benefits, they often face large tax bills when they move back to their home countries.

Mr McCrea, a former life assurance salesman in Nottingham who moved to the Far East in the 1980s, advised clients on how to use offshore accounts to avoid tax.

Mr Cheney said there was no suggestion Mr McCrea was doing anything illegal.

Australian law will not allow anyone - whether or not they are an Australian citizen - to be extradited if they face the death penalty.

Mr McCrea's barrister Greg Hughan told BBC News Online: "We are opposing the extradition application. In fact we are busting for a fight."

He said: "Mr McCrea is a British citizen, originally from the Nottingham area, and he says he wants to go back to Britain."

Mr Rodan said his client, who was being held in Port Phillip prison near Melbourne, was "tense and agitated" as he waited to learn his fate.

The last time a British citizen was executed in Singapore was in 1996, when Londoner John Scripps was hanged for the murder of a South African engineer.

By Chris Summers
BBC News Online

A British businessman facing extradition to Singapore for a double murder has written to BBC News Online from jail in Australia to protest his innocence.

"There is a lynch mob waiting for me in Singapore," writes British businessman Michael McCrea in a letter from his Australian prison cell.

Mr McCrea, 44, a Falklands War veteran from Nottingham, is living through a nightmare and sees no end in sight.

He denies murdering two people in Singapore - one of whom was not only a Triad but also a member of the ruling People's Action Party - and is terrified of being extradited back there to stand trial.

Mr McCrea said he had received "zero help" from the British High Commission in Melbourne and had no response to a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He faces an extradition hearing on 12 November and he fears Australia will believe Singapore's assurances about not executing him if he is found guilty.

Mr McCrea writes from his cell in Port Philip prison near Melbourne: "The trial is already a foregone conclusion...I need some help. I need public opinion behind me.

"How can a British citizen be sent to a Third World country which still carries the death penalty on two charges of homicide when the only mandatory punishment is death."

Ten months ago Mr McCrea was living a life of luxury in Singapore, running a successful business and looking forward to a growing family.

But everything changed one night in January when there was a knock at the door of his luxury apartment in Singapore's Balmoral Park district.

Mr McCrea said he was attacked with a cleaver - receiving severe injuries to his head and hand - and left for dead.

When he recovered consciousness he found his chauffeur, Kho Nai Guan, 46, and the chauffeur's Chinese girlfriend were missing.

They were later found strangled in the Daewoo Chairman limousine which Mr Kho used to chauffeur around Mr McCrea.

Their decomposing bodies were found in a car parked in Orchard Towers, a seedy corner of otherwise squeaky-clean Singapore.

Australian Philip Stearman, who shared a cell with Mr McCrea for several months after his arrest in May this year, said he was a "bloody nice guy" who was being framed for a crime he did not commit.

He said Mr McCrea had wounds - included a four-inch gash on his forehead - which were consistent with his story.

1 Jan 2002: McCrea says he was attacked by Triads who took away Mr Guan
5 Jan: Mr McCrea, with Miss Ong, flies to London for medical treatment
7 Jan: The bodies of Mr Guan and his girlfriend found
29 May: Mr McCrea arrested in Melbourne
12 Nov: Mr McCrea faces extradition hearing

Mr Stearman, speaking from his home in the Australian outback, said: "Never mind the trial, he won't last 15 minutes in a Singapore jail.

"The Singapore newspapers have accused him of being a rapist, a conman, a tax fraud, a woman basher and one of the victims was a Triad.

"Gang members in jail will have read the papers just like everyone else and they think he has killed one of their own. If he is sent back to Singapore you may as well send flowers."

He said he understood Mr McCrea's co-accused Audrey Ong had changed her initial statement - which had supported his version of events - after the Singaporean Government allowed her relatives to visit her in Australia.

Mr Stearman said: "I really feel sorry for him. I know when someone is being set up and he has been set up a treat."

He said Mr McCrea had only learned after Guan's death that he was a Triad who owed thousands of pounds in gambling debts to other gangsters and also took a synthetic drug called ice.

"Mick told me he gave Guan a S$26,000 Christmas bonus only a few days before all this happened," said Mr Stearman.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman told BBC News Online: "Our consular office are in contact with him and his next of kin, his spouse."

She said: "We cannot intervene in the extradition. It is a matter between Singapore and Australia. We have no locus to intervene.

"Our interest is to ensure that he has proper legal representation and is properly looked after in prison."

Steven Jacobi, of Fair Trials Abroad, said that while Singapore's criminal justice system was generally considered fair it did have a record of pursuing political enemies of the ruling party.

ABC Local Radio
Federal Government faces tough extradition decision
PM Archive - Tuesday, 15 July , 2003 18:18:00
Reporter: Natasha Simpson

TANYA NOLAN: The Federal Government is facing a sensitive decision on whether to extradite a man to Singapore, which lawyers fear could result in his death.

British national Michael McCrea is wanted over a double-murder, and his lawyers believe Singaporean Government assurances he won't be executed, aren't legally enforceable.

They want the Australian Government to ensure Mr McCrea will have time to appeal if his extradition is ordered. But the Attorney-General's office has told them there'll be no grace period.

NATASHA SIMPSON: Michael McCrea was working in Singapore when his chauffer and the driver's girlfriend were found murdered. The British expat has strenuously denied killing them but after the incident he fled to Melbourne, where his wife and two children live, and was detained over visa irregularities.

Late last year, a Melbourne Magistrate found McCrae was eligible for extradition but Justice Minister Chris Ellison has to approve his return to Singapore. The double-murder charge carries a mandatory death sentence and Australian policy prohibits the extradition of someone facing a capital offence.

While the Singaporean Government has given an undertaking McCrae won't be executed, his lawyer, John Maitland, has shown ABC News constitutional advice suggesting his client could still be sent to his death.

JOHN MAITLAND: We have had advice from a Queen's Counsel here in Melbourne, Mr Gerry Nash, and it's backed up by some leading academics in Singapore that by operation of the Singapore Constitution, no undertaking or assurance can provide a watertight undertaking.

In other words, the assurance - we haven't even received an undertaking - the assurance from the Government of Singapore would not guarantee to either our government or Mr McCrae that he would not have the death penalty carried out.

NATASHA SIMPSON: It's advice the President of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, Terry O'Gorman says the Government should take very seriously.

TERRY O'GORMAN: When Australia is likely to be party to an extradition which has a high probability of someone being put to death in another country, the Australian Government has to proceed extremely carefully, and very much with a focus on our long-standing policy of not extraditing people to countries where the death penalty is likely.

NATASHA SIMPSON: Justice Minister Chris Ellison says he's waiting for advice on the new information before him.

CHRIS ELLISON: Australia has no reason to doubt that a country like Singapore would not stick to its word, and we've had undertakings in the past from countries who have abided by them. We have not had any experience where an undertaking has not been adhered to be another country.

NATASHA SIMPSON: McCrae's legal team fears if an extradition warrant is signed, Singaporean authorities will act before any appeal can be considered and John Maitland says advice from the Attorney-General's office indicates there won't be a period of grace for legal intervention to stop them.

JOHN MAITLAND: What concerns us is that if in fact a decision went against Mr McCrae the Singapore authorities, if they have a member here in Melbourne, could jump in their hired car, go out to the jail with a warrant for the release of Mr McCrae and have him bundled on a Singapore Airlines jet off to what we would say is an unfair trial in the gallows without affording Mr McCrae any time to have the court review the minister's decision, which could in fact be quite wrong.

NATASHA SIMPSON: Mr Maitland maintains if his client is sent anywhere, he should be deported to Britain for visa offences.

The British High Commission says it can't intervene in the process, but if Mr McCrae is deported to England, the British Government would seek absolute assurances from Singaporean authorities that he wouldn't face capital or corporal punishment if he was sent back to Singapore, assurances they would likely accept.

TANYA NOLAN: Natasha Simpson with that report, and there'll be more on that story in ABC TV news at seven o'clock.


The way things are going, 2005 may be the year of murder trials and the death penalty. There have been a number of cases raising troubling questions.

PP vs Took Leng How
On 26 August 2005, Took Leng How was sentenced to death for the murder of 8-year-old Huang Na on 10 October 2004. Took was a vegetable packer at a wholesale market and was acquainted with Huang Na's mother, as the woman had once worked there. The girl herself knew Took well and they often played together.

That fateful week, the mother, Huang Shuying, 27, was back in China. She had left Huang Na in the care of her flatmate Li Xiuqin, another Chinese national. Around midday on 10 October 2004, Li allowed Huang Na to go out to make a phone call to her mother, but that was the last she saw of the girl. Apparently, Took met her and they played together in a storeroom where he worked, and where she was killed.

What troubled me was that motive had not been established, without which it seemed unwise to assume that the killing had been pre-planned. Nor was there any evidence that Took had taken steps to plan for the murder, such as procuring a weapon in advance. The judge, Lai Kew Chai, said in his verdict,

56 ....In reaching such a conclusion, I make no finding with regards to whether the accused had in fact sexually assaulted the deceased. Discovering the motive of the killing is not essential to a finding that the accused had indeed caused the death of the deceased and had committed murder.

The defence had raised this point about there being no demonstrable motive, and instead argued that the accused was suffering from schizophrenia. Dr Nagulendran was the expert witness for the defence. However, the judge said,

66 ....The difficulty with Dr Nagulendran’s finding in this respect is that it pre-supposed the killing to be motiveless and unplanned. I am unsure of what the accused’s motives might be, but that does not mean that his acts were motiveless. Bearing in mind that the burden is on the Defence to prove diminished responsibility, if the Defence so wishes to rely on the lack of motive as an indication that the accused was mentally abnormal, it follows that the Defence must positively prove the lack of motive. This it had not done.

Is this reasonable? How can one positively prove the negative?

Not only does Singapore law mandate capital punishment upon conviction for murder, with no discretion in sentencing being allowed to the trial judges, what constitutes murder may be broader than the layman thinks. Any act that causes another's death is murder, whether or not motive is established, whether or not pre-planned, though at that very moment, there has to be intent to cause death, or the action should be such that it can reasonably be expected to cause death.

There are, in our Penal Code, 7 exceptions under which an accused can be convicted of "culpable homicide not amounting to murder", instead of simple murder. These generally relate to self-defence, passion or mental impairment. The penalty is 10 years to life, with the possibility of caning added.

The way the law has been worded, the 7 exceptions are subsidiary to the simple offence of murder. This means that the prosecution need only prove that you have killed, and by default you will get the death penalty. It is then up to the defence to prove that one of the 7 exceptions apply in order to escape the default penalty, and even then you may get life in jail, and maybe caning too. Yes, even for self-defence!

Now that I have highlighted this, most readers will realise it is quite different from how we as laymen expect the justice system to work. We mostly think that it is up to the prosecution to prove motive and premeditation in order to obtain a guilty verdict for murder, and that all the defence has to do is to show reasonable doubt.

Apparently, this is not how it is in Singapore.

PP vs Juminem and another
In this case, the defence argued successfully for diminished responsibility due to mental impairment.

Juminem was an 18 year-old domestic maid, while "another" was a 15 year-old maid. For some reason the court would not name her (because of her age?) even though the media did. Both came from Indonesia to work. Their ages given here and in the court documents referred to when the crime was committed, in March 2004.

Juminen worked for the victim, Esther Ang, 47, while Siti Aminah worked for her ex-husband. The two maids were quite close -- and were said not to have had any other friends in Singapore save each other -- since their employers, although divorced, remained on good terms and saw each other regularly.

On 2 March 2004, the two maids took turns to suffocate Ang with a pillow and used a wine bottle to hit her abdomen and head several times at her home.

The maids also faked a break-in by taking her money and valuables. Juminem then forged her employer's signature on a cheque for $25,000 payable to Siti Aminah.

Juminem had formed the intention to kill her employer, whom she considered unreasonable and oppressive, about a week before the crime. She enlisted the help of Siti Aminah.

The judge found that Juminem had been suffering from "reactive depression" as a result of stress from loneliness, financial worry and her employer's demands. The defence had quoted extensively from her diary illustrating the way her mood had changed over the months prior. She was found guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

As for Siti Aminah, the court found that she had been under severe stress, especially from her employer's elderly mother, who had called her names and pushed her. She was also young in age, and of borderline intelligence. The judge said she was easily led along by others. She was sentenced to 10 years' jail.

Severe though those sentences were, everyone heaved a sigh of relief. If either one of them were sentenced to death, there might well be a diplomatic row between Indonesia and Singapore.

As to be expected, there are people who think that the risk of a diplomatic row impinged on the verdict. 3 men and their wives (?) at a coffeeshop where I was having lunch last week had a heated debate about it. They got so animated, before long, 4 others joined in. (In fact, it was that scene that got me interested enough to read up about this case, which I had largely ignored till then.)

Guen Garlejo Aguilar
Aguilar is another domestic maid, but from the Philippines. She is accused of murdering another Filipino maid, Jane Parangan La Puebla, last week. The body was chopped up, bagged and left near Orchard MRT station and at Macritchie Reservoir Park.

The last time a Filipino maid was found guilty of murder and hanged was in 1995. Flor Contemplacion too had murdered another Filipino maid, Delia Maga, as well as 3-year-old Nicholas Huang, son of her employer. The murders took place in 1991.

Anger swept the Philippines as the news of the execution broke. Leftist and feminist groups, human rights activists and the media denounced Singapore as a barbaric, tyrannical and totalitarian state with no respect for human rights. The Roman Catholic Church called Singapore a state without mercy.

President Ramos of the Philippines had appealed to the Singapore president for a stay of execution in order to study new evidence, but the Singapore government dismissed the "new evidence" as fabrication.

After the hanging, when the body was flown back to Manila, it was received by Mrs Ramos, the First Lady, which was quite unprecedented. Contemplacion was treated like a heroine, and more than 5,000 jammed into the small town of San Pablo where she had lived to pay their last respects.

Roman Catholic Bishop Teodoro Bacani held a requiem mass in the town's crowded cathedral for her. He told the congregation, "She is a symbol of millions of Filipinos driven by poverty to take their chances abroad...Their lot is pathetic. Their own government neglects them." There was applause from the congregation.

Given such an accusation, there was no way for Manila to appear anything other than tough with Singapore. Bilateral relations chilled for a year after that. Singapore didn't understand the social and political dynamics of an important regional partner. Our political leaders were only familiar with the cold-blooded, tightly-controlled system they had in Singapore.

Now, in the latest case, Singapore is bending over backwards to invite coroner's examiners from the Philippines to perform a joint autopsy on the deceased, to avoid future accusations of a frame up.

The Filipino government has also arranged for the accused Guen Aguilar's husband and family to travel to Singapore so that they can meet with her.

But trouble is already brewing. The judge has refused to allow the attorney hired by the Philippine embassy to meet with his client, instead permitting the police to hold Aguilar for one week for "further investigations", even though she has already been charged, which is to say, the prosecutor already thinks Aguilar murdered La Puebla.

Latest reports say the family too has been refused permission to see her while she is in custody.

On 15 September, 2005, the Straits Times reported that,

Family members of Filipino maid and murder suspect Guen Garlejo Aguilar are likely to arrive in Singapore this week, but she will not be allowed to meet them or her lawyer until police are satisfied that this will not interfere with their investigations.

Further in the same article,

The media in the Philippines has taken issue with the decision to remand Aguilar for one week without access to legal counsel, while Mr Aguilar has appealed to Philippine President Gloria Arroyo to intervene in the case.

Once more, the scene is set for Filipinos to be convinced that Singapore is heartless and our system inherently unjust. The media in that country is bewildered that the accused can't even see her lawyer.

Yet, that is our justice system. The police are allowed first go at you if you're suspected of any crime. They can interrogate you without allowing you to have a lawyer present. They can record what you say, make you sign a statement, and another, and another, without your lawyer advising you. When they record your statements, they do not provide a copy to you or your lawyer. You may next be confronted with these statements only at your trial.

This period where you are "held for investigation" seems intended to give the police an opportunity to get you to incriminate yourself, as you well might under the pressure of interrogation, devoid of assistance.

Coming back to the case, in response to the mounting concern about lack of access to Aguilar, the Singapore government had to issue a statement, as reported in the same Straits Times article.

In a statement released yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) insisted Aguilar is being treated fairly and 'no differently from any suspect or accused person who has been charged with a similar offence'.

The MHA said: 'The basic rights and needs of an accused person in custody are always strictly observed and met.

'Any accused person under police custody is accorded proper facilities and treated humanely, including the provisions for personal hygiene, food, water and access to medical treatment if needed.'

But it stressed that the investigations must not be compromised.

How does the presence of a lawyer and family visits "compromise" any investigation unless insistence on human rights and basic norms of justice are themselves seen as a hindrance to police process?

Michael McCrea
McCrea is accused of murdering his driver, Kho Nai Guan, 46, and the driver's girlfriend, Lan Ya Ming, 29, on 2 Jan 2002 at his apartment. He managed to flee to Australia before the police could issue a warrant of arrest for him, as the bodies (and the crime) were not discovered till five days later. McCrea, a British citizen, has since been fighting extradition on the grounds that the mandatory penalty for murder in Singapore is death, and Australian law does not allow extradition of any suspect to a country where he may face capital punishment.

To get around this problem, the Singapore government has given an undertaking to Australia that even if he is convicted of murder, he will not be executed. Since by law, the judge has no choice in the matter except to impose the death penalty, this undertaking can only be realised through Presidential clemency.

Even so, it begs the question of whether there is equal justice in Singapore. Will some suspects, by their special circumstances, particularly the involvement of foreign countries face a different penalty for the same crime?

On the face of things, these 4 cases appear quite different from each other. Yet each one of them reveals some troubling aspect of our laws and justice system.

The common denominator seems to be that Singapore is out of step with expected norms prevailing in many other countries. To them, and to many Singaporeans, our laws and processes appear barbaric and unjustifiably loaded against the accused.

Hence, each time a foreign government takes an interest in a case, we have to make ad hoc adjustments in order to avoid a crisis in relations. In the example of McCrea, we've had to give up the death penalty in order to get him extradited at all.

But every time we make ad hoc adjustments, we raise the question of equal justice. We raise the suspicion that the verdict might have been less grounded on facts than on diplomatic imperatives, which, as you can imagine, does wonders (sarcasm intended) for the dictum that justice should not only be done, but seen to be done.

What purpose does capital punishment serve? It doesn't even have a deterrent effect as the experience of other countries have shown. And certainly, it has no rehabilitative effect either. You're dead, man. It's just judicial revenge, stemming from a primitive view of what a justice should be.

How do we convince anyone that denying an accused person access to a lawyer is good for justice? To me, this practice seems to come from a time when the chief aim was to get confessions, by whatever means necessary.

What is holding us back from bringing our justice system up to date? Pride. Damn pride. An unwillingness by our government to admit that their thinking is archaic, that they are more inclined to making their prosecutors' jobs easy than upholding human rights. An insistence that they always know best. An insistence that while everybody else's norms may be fine for everybody else, a different sun shines on Singapore.


Murder charge student faces porn counts
August 3, 2004 - 12:15PM

A student accused of bludgeoning to death his two flatmates in Sydney is now facing 11 new charges including possession of child pornography.

Ram Puneet Tiwary, 25, appeared in Sydney's Central Local Court today charged with two counts of murder.

The Crown added 11 fresh charges including possessing child pornography, break enter and steal, larceny, making and using a false security licence, conducting a security act without a licence, making a false statement to obtain money and receiving stolen goods.

Tiwary did not apply for bail and was formally refused.

Chow Lyang Tay and Poh Chuan Tan, both 26, were found dead in the Randwick unit they shared with the accused on September 15 last year.

Both men had been hit over the head with a blunt object.

Mr Tan and Mr Tay were both married but their wives had stayed in Singapore while they studied at the University of NSW.

According to the police charge sheet tendered to the court, police found five images of girls under 16 involved in sexual activity on Tiwary's computer when the flat was searched on the night of the murders.

The other allegations included breaking into a UNSW student dormitory and stealing a computer and the theft of student identification cards and a mobile phone.

Tiwary will reappear at Central Local Court on September 14.

Sydney murder trial
Channel NewsAsia's Corey Jones in Sydney
14 September 2005 1840 hrs

A Sydney court heard on Wednesday that 28-year-old Singaporean Ram Tiwary, who is accused of murdering his two flatmates, was extremely agitated when the paramedics arrived.

In fact, the paramedics were so frightened of him that they locked themselves in their ambulance till the police arrived.

Taiwanese Vincent Tsang flew in from Taipei to testify in the Sydney murder inquiry.

He knew all three Singaporeans - the two victims and the accused - who shared an apartment near the University of New South Wales.

Mr Tsang told the court he had lived with the Singaporeans in the same first floor flat some time before the murders.

He recalled the Singaporeans had initially shared all their chores as well as household and grocery bills, but this arrangement soon broke down because all three worked different hours.

Mr Tsang recalled that the accused, Ram Tiwary, often slept in because he worked late nights as a security guard.

Earlier, Rick Irving, one of the paramedics sent to the murder scene, gave a graphic account of what he saw as they drove up.

The paramedics told how they saw Ram Tiwary approach their ambulance in an unsettled state.

There was blood on his hands and he appeared to be edgy, upset and concerned.

Mr Irving said there appeared to be dried blood on the back of Tiwary's hand.

Another paramedic, Helen Gillespie, said the ambulance team had been a little frightened when Tiwary ran up to the ambulance.

So they locked the vehicle doors and waited for the police to arrive before entering the flat.

Inside, the paramedics found both Singaporean students dead.

One had suffered significant neck trauma and blood loss, the other had a bloody wound at the back of his head.

Tiwary told the paramedics that he had been asleep when he heard a noise. He woke up, found the bodies and called the emergency services.

Several Singaporean students who knew the victims and the accused will be giving evidence over the next week.

The Newpaper
26 September 2005

Singaporean student Ram Puneet Tiwary used to be up all night and slept during most of the day.

Like vampires, Tiwary's name is linked to blood - he is accused of murdering his fellow Singaporean flatmates in September 2003.

In fact, a paramedic who arrived at the scene of the murders said he had seen blood on Tiwary's hands.

Singaporean Lee Kay Meng, who has known Ram Tiwary for several years, said he earned the nickname 'Vampire' because he liked to sleep in late after studying through the night.

Both were studying in Sydney on scholarships from the Singapore Armed Forces and had gone to parties and the casino together.

On Friday, a Sydney court decided that Tiwary will have to stand trial for the brutal killing of 27-year-old Tony Tan Poh Chuan and 26-year-old Tay Chow Lyang, in the flat they shared near the University of New South Wales.

Crown Prosecutor John Cline said Tiwary, 26, even forged his girlfriend's results and passed them off as his own.

'He lived a party life and slept all day. Wasn't he supposed to be going to lectures?', Mr Cline asked.

Tiwary's trial will start next year and more details of the horror killings and his lifestyle are expected to be revealed.

The police allege that around noon on 15 Sep, 2003, Tiwary bludgeoned Mr Tay with a baseball bat.

He then took a kitchen knife and stabbed Mr Tay a number of times. After he had placed a chair in the lounge to block the view of the body, he took a shower.

But Tiwary's lawyer disputed this, saying he did not shower and that no trace of blood was found on any of the towels in the house.

Some time later, Mr Tan walked into the house.

He is said to have been at a lecture until 1.45pm that day.

According to the police, he was attacked by Tiwary as he walked through the front door and discovered Mr Tay's body.

Tiwary is alleged to have hit Mr Tan on the face, smashing his glasses and knocking out several teeth.

Mr Tan ran back to the front door to escape. But he was again allegedly beaten - this time on the head with the bat - and then stabbed.

While Mr Tan is said to have died soon afterwards, a pathologist who conducted autopsies on the two bodies, told the court that Mr Tay may have remained alive for two hours after he was attacked.

But Tiwary had a different story to tell. He said he had received a telephone call from his girlfriend at 6.30am on the morning of the murders, got up, had breakfast and then returned to bed.

A highly emotional Tiwary told the emergency operator over the phone that he had been woken up by a screaming noise and opened the bedroom door to find two dead bodies and a baseball bat on the floor.

Tiwary made the call from his bedroom, telling the operator that there has been a murder and he needed an ambulance.

He said there was blood all over the place and that two of his friends were dead.

When the operator asked him whether his friends were definitely dead or whether they were unconscious, he again said that there was blood all over the place and that he could not tell whether they were dead.

The operator wanted to know whether Tiwary's friends were shot or stabbed.

'No, there's a baseball bat and a knife there.'

'They're bashed in completely. Yes, there's a knife lying on the ground as well,' he replied.

During the call, the operator asked Tiwary whether there was anyone else in the house.

His reply: 'Unless he's in one of the other bedroom, I don't know. But I have got a bat with me...'

Just before the conversation ended, the operator asked Tiwary if he was holding the baseball bat, and if so, to put it down.

The court heard that when it comes to personal security, especially among students, baseball bats are often the weapon of choice.

Media reports have it that Tiwary's family in Singapore is said to be concerned about his mental health and is said to have hired a forensic psychologist to examine him.

His cousin Ramesh Tiwary, a lawyer, while giving evidence, criticised the police and prosecution for being slow in calling witnesses.

A few other Singaporeans gave evidence.

Mr Lee was one of them. Although they had gone to casinos together, he said Tiwary did not have a gambling problem, although he once lost A$900 ($1,160) on a single visit a few weeks before the murders.

Another Singaporean, Mr Chaw Bak You, a friend of Mr Tay, said under cross-examination that Mr Tay was careful with his money and took note of people who owed him large sums.

He said Mr Tay had stuck a note on the back of the apartment's front door about a sum of money a former housemate, Mr Vincent Tsang, owed him. Mr Tsang, a Taiwanese, had moved out of the apartment before the murder.

A hint of a gay relationship also reared its head during the cross-examination.

Mr Chaw told the court that another friend, Mr Alan Wong, had a close relationship with Mr Tay.

He said he had seen Mr Wong frequently touching Mr Tay and that Mr Tay's wife was jealous of Mr Wong.

On Friday, the final day of the nine-day preliminary hearing, the prosecutor told the court that Tiwary had done badly in his studies and had fallen behind on his rent.

But his defence lawyer said the case against him was based largely on speculation, which included allegations that he had an argument with his flatmates over his delay in paying his share of the rent.


June 08
The Sydney Double Murder

Today's the closing of the Sydney Double Murder case. For the past few days and last week, a lot of things have been running through my mind. The two murder victims were Singaporeans students at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), to make it even more personal, one of them, Tony Tan Poh Chuan was my brother's polytechnic classmate, and they used to sit side by side in class. Both left behind a lot of emotional baggages: both were only sons, who left behind very young wives and were nearing the completion of their undergraduate courses. But of the two, the unfortunate incident has also torn apart the Tan family. It didn't do justice that his family exposed its dirty linen as well, with financial disagreement between father and daughter-in-law. The Tay family however, got on very well, and relationship was closer than ever.

I wonder what took the Australian police and forensic scientists so long to figure out the whole case. Even then they were nowhere near the standards of most developed countries in forensic science / pathology. The double murder took place in September 2003 and has yet to reach a closure. There was also no doubt that the murder accuse, Ram Tiwary was also the very person who brutally murdered his two roommates over money. His account was littered with lies, and for the most part he wasn't even consistent at all.

Everytime this kindda thing happened, my mind would reconstruct the murder with the details from the newspapers. The same thing happened with the recent rape-murder of a business executive in Malaysia, who went missing during a jog with her sister only to be found naked waist-down and dead. What a heinous thing to do, who can guarantee the safety of girls and women. The disappointments I get from visualising these murders were having to 'witness' the brutal end of the victims and being unable to see the faces of their perpetrators.

How frightening it must be for Poh Chuan to know what helplessness in the face of danger when the perpetrator closed the door which he tried to open it. All it took was a few minutes for the murderer to get the kitchen knife to finish both him and his other roommate. While I have done anything like that, I know that once a person has committed such a crime, it is very likely that he / she will commit the same thing again. Guilt doesn't haunt individuals who plotted murder. All it takes is just the intent to commit murder.

If only judicial proceedings was held in Singapore, the murderer would definitely be sent to the gallows.

It's emotionally distressing that somebody we once knew, was extinguished at the prime of his life. I wonder how my brother and his polytechnic classmates felt about the absent classmate during their gatherings. While everyone progresses in life and grow old, this friend will never grow old together with them.

Mama just told me that Poh Chuan was an intelligent individual. The way I see it intelligent people will be shortchanged but dull people have already been shortchanged.


Monday, June 12, 2006
Money, chores created friction among flatmates

The story below struck a familiar chord when I read it. Reminded me of what could have gone wrong but thankfully didn't when I was in UK. Grateful that I could stay in a hall in my first year and get to know some people first instead of jumping straight into an apartment. So for those Singaporeans who are going overseas and happen to chance upon this blog, do take care in choosing housemates! It makes a hell of a difference!

From The Straits Times

Like many foreign students, the three Singaporeans were thrown together in Sydney to set up a home away from home. Despite their very different personalities, in the seven months they stayed together, they generally got along well - until rent, bills, chores and each other's pet peeves started getting in the way.

Now the youngest of the trio, Ram Tiwary, is on trial for killing his flatmates, Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, and Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, in September 2003. Tiwary was then 24.

From the 16-day hearing in a Sydney court, it was clear the three were the most unlikely of housemates. Mr Tan was studious, neat and tidy, Mr Tay obsessively careful with money, and Tiwary an inveterate socialiser.

Crown Prosecutor Tim Hoyle said there was 'very minimal social contact'. Tiwary did not even know Mr Tan's surname when first questioned by detectives.

It was the Barker Street apartment, with its relatively cheap rent and close proximity to the University of New South Wales, that drew them together. Mr Tay got a room in August 2002, soon after starting his undergraduate studies, followed by Tiwary, then Mr Tan in March 2003.

There was a fourth person in the flat, a Taiwanese student named Mr Vincent Tseng, but his departure in July that year marked the point that relations among the trio took a distinct turn for the worse.

Mr Tay was the only one of the trio paying his own way through university, dipping into the combined savings he kept with his wife, a Chinese teacher.

Tiwary and Mr Tan were both on Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) study awards.

Twice a year, Mr Tay would carefully plan his budget for the next six months. If he overspent, he would get by on biscuits just to balance his books.

The apartment lease was in his name and he was usually the one who settled all the bills.

Every month, 'like clockwork', he would pay the A$2,172 (S$2,585) rent to the landlord, then collect each flatmate's portion and issue a computer-printed receipt with his signature.

He also handled the utility bills, but his insistence on dividing the bills equally was a sore point, especially with Mr Tan, who communicated with his wife over the Internet and hardly used the house phone.

But Mr Tay was so particular that he even inserted a clause in the lease listing 'toilet paper expenses' as an item every flatmate was obliged to chip in for.

This meticulous financial husbandry grated on Tiwary too, according to the prosecution. They say Tiwary, now 27, killed Mr Tay because he kept pressing him for the A$5,045 he owed in rent.

When police combed through the trio's finances, they found Tiwary broke, with a negative 84 cents in his bank account.

His account trail showed that he made frequent withdrawals - sometimes as much as A$400 at one go. He spent most of it on clothes, model aeroplanes, alcohol and, two days before the murders, A$60 on the baseball bat used to kill at least one of the victims.

He had to work part-time as a security guard to just about keep his head above water and was also accused of a series of thefts.

Mr Tan liked to splurge, too, on hobbies like diving, but never spent beyond his means.

That Mr Tay was tough with money was no secret to his friends, who described him as 'stingy'. One recalled how he threatened to sell off Mr Tseng's belongings because he owed him A$63 in unpaid electricity bills. It was Mr Tay's refusal to let Mr Tseng skip a month's rent when he went on holiday to Europe that made the Taiwanese student leave the flat.

With a fourth person gone, the rent had to be split three ways, with each liable for an extra A$200 a month.

The prosecution said this was why Tiwary cooked up a 'fictional character', Andrew, to stop Mr Tay raising the rent.

But when Andrew never appeared after several months, Mr Tay lost his patience and wanted Tiwary to pay his imaginary friend's share of the rent.

Mr Tan, who had learnt to cook in Sydney, was the designated chef, leaving Tiwary and Mr Tay to do the washing up.

But his mother, Madam Chiew Lee Hua, said her son got so fed up with the others leaving the dishes unwashed that he refused to cook for them anymore.

From then on, they prepared their own meals or had takeaways. Grocery shopping became an individual affair and fridge items were labelled by each one.

Friends and the widows of the two slain men all said they hardly saw Tiwary in the flat. He was a night bird and a late riser, while the others were usually in bed by midnight and up by 9am.

Mr Tan and Mr Tay tended to spend their time studying. On the rare occasions they left the flat, it was to go to school or to buy essentials. They kept largely to themselves, mixing with only a small group of friends, mainly fellow Singaporeans or Asians.

Tiwary preferred hanging out with students of all nationalities.

The joke among students then was if anyone wanted to look for Tiwary, they would have better luck in pubs than on campus.

The two victims were from typical heartlander families. Both lived in three-room HDB flats, both their fathers are in the construction industry and both their mothers are part-time hawkers.

Both Mr Tan and Mr Tay studied in neighbourhood schools and got to university via the polytechnic route.

In a diary he kept while training to be an army officer, Mr Tan wrote that his motto as a youth was 'All Play and No Study'. Yet, he reversed that motto when older, and graduated with merit from Singapore Polytechnic with a diploma in architectural technology.

He was determined to do well as his parents led a hard life without a proper education, and they hoped to see their children graduate and have good careers. He aimed to reach the rank of Major by 30 and provide for his parents.

Mr Tay was a top student in the same polytechnic, which allowed him to go directly into the third year of the university's electrical engineering course.

Before he died, Mr Tay was working on a thesis on motor movement control, which could help treat people with motor function problems.

Both men were serious about their studies, rarely missed classes and were almost never late.

Mr Tan was doing so well that all his classmates in his telecommunications engineering final-year class knew he would get a first class honours.

He did, posthumously.

Mr Tay was also awarded his degree posthumously.

Tiwary, on the other hand, comes from an educated, middle-class family. He did his primary and secondary education in Brunei, where his father was a vice-principal in St Andrew's School.

He told New South Wales police he felt the pressure to do well in studies and hinted he was trying for a degree as it was 'something my dad would have wanted'.

But Tiwary was notorious for showing up midway through lectures, if at all, and failed several subjects. When asked about the $30,000 in compensation he would have to pay the SAF if he failed, he joked: 'My dad has the money, not me.'

The Barker Street second-storey apartment where the murders took place is now occupied by four Asian students.

Landlord Albert Lichia, 56, who lives in the unit below, said he could not find any students to move in for almost two years after the murders. He said: 'They were nice and friendly people, never caused me any trouble. It's such a horrible thing to happen...for all three of them.'


Ram was my platoon mate in Bravo 1 when I was in OCS. We weren’t friends but for a few months in 1998/1999, we depended on each other for support during training as did everybody else. It’s funny to think the guy who bunked next to me in Taiwan has now been convicted of a double murder. It’s hard for me to grasp the idea.

The Ram I knew wasn’t a bad guy at all. Sometimes a bit lazy. Sometimes a bit sycophantic (or "Wayang" as they say in army-speak). Not unlike any other officer cadet. Every fact about him mentioned in the article I can believe, and some, like his reputation as a ladies’ man I have even heard first hand. All except that bit about being a murderer.

I hope if he’s innocent that he will eventually be able to clear his name. Otherwise he’ll have to play with the cards he’s dealt.

The Newpaper
By Dominic Ying
June 22, 2006

Shocked, sad, and hopeful. That was how relatives felt when the jury found Ram Tiwary guilty of both murder charges.

The New Paper spoke to a close relative who grew up with him.

He was the darling of the family, the relative said.

In their eyes, he was a mentor, a ladies’ man and a sentimental son.

He was helpful and a good listener. But he could also have a temper.

And now he is a murderer, likely to be locked up for a long time, for bashing his two housemates to death in Sydney nearly three years ago.

The relative spoke on condition of anonymity, as Tiwary’s immediate family had asked all their relatives not to speak to the media.

‘Naturally, we’re wondering if the jury has made the right decision, but we’re hoping there is a chance for appeal,’ said the relative.

Tiwary had no reaction when the verdict was delivered.

‘That is him, always cool about things, you can drop a bombshell on him and he would still smile.

‘Once, when his late great-granddad collapsed, Ram was the one who took control and administered CPR,’ said the relative.

The extended family has met on several occasions since Tiwary was arrested and charged with the murders, but no one talks about the case.

‘Though his family is holding up, this period has been very tough for all of us - uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces,’ said the relative.

‘But no one has ever brought it up because it’s not going to change anything, and it only makes everyone more upset.’

When Tiwary was arrested, family members were shocked.

Tiwary had initially refused to meet anyone while in prison, even his immediate family members.

A lawyer cousin then got him to change his mind and Tiwary met his parents after months without contact.

Tiwary is the second of three sons. Their father, now retired, was the vice-principal of a school in Brunei.

His elder brother, 29, is working, while his younger brother, 20, is doing his national service.

The close-knit extended Tiwary family includes several lawyers.

‘There are very few of us here, and some are in very respectable jobs, so naturally it’s tough,’ said the relative.

‘Friends have asked questions and we really don’t know how to answer them, but we’ve grown to live with it.’

Tiwary was always looked up to by the younger ones.

‘He was always very willing to help and would take time out for you when needed. Household chores, errands...

‘Once, clothes pegs had fallen from a flat to the void deck area and he went down without being asked to retrieve them, though it wasn’t his own home.’

He would take kids to the playground and carry them onto the monkey bars, and attend to them when they were on the slides and see-saws.

‘He was also a very good listener when we needed advice or just someone to talk to,’ said the relative.

Tiwary signed on in the army as an infantry officer.

He later went to study mechanical engineering at the University of New South Wales on a Singapore Armed Forces Local Study Award.

The younger ones looked up to him as a mentor as he seemed to be good at everything, said the relative.

‘His mother was very proud of him and always told us how good a student he was in school. He was everybody’s favourite.’

When he came back to Singapore during his semester breaks, he would make it a point to visit all his relatives.

Tiwary, known to be a party animal, was apparently popular with the ladies.

‘He was very open about the girls he went out with. I don’t know how many girlfriends he’s had. He’s probably lost count too,’ the relative said.

Tiwary’s current girlfriend, Australian Elvira Metiljevic, apparently was his most serious girlfriend. He met her during his freshman year at university while she was studying aeronautical engineering, said the relative.

Tiwary’s interests included building model aeroplanes and drawing.

‘He was a perfectionist when it came to his hobbies. He took so much care in making and painting those planes that he would lose all track of time. ‘He also loved to sketch both portraits and cars,’ said the relative.

Before Tiwary went to study in Australia, he became emotional at the thought of leaving his family.

‘He dropped by all our relatives’ homes for dinner and even cried,’ recalled the relative.

But beneath all this lay a bad temper.

‘He nearly got into a fight with an uncle over some insignificant issue four years ago.

‘We were all quite shocked over his behaviour as it was really uncalled for,’ the relative said.

As the Sydney trial drew to a close, relatives were concerned about the health of Tiwary’s father.

‘He had open heart surgery about four years ago, and is still not in the best of health,’ said the relative.

Tiwary’s mother has also been reclusive since his arrest.

‘She used to be a very happy and friendly woman, always keeping in touch with her family in India.

‘Now she just prays alone every day for four to five hours at a go.’

It is believed that the legal expenses for Tiwary have amounted to half a million dollars, said the relative.

‘The elder brother was supposed to get married in an arranged marriage sometime last year but that has been delayed because of the case,’ the relative said.

Singaporean Ram Tiwary’s trial for the murders of his flatmates, Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, on 15 Sep, 2003, lasted 16 days.

It was in Sydney’s New South Wales Supreme Court.

The two students were beaten to death in the Sydney flat they had shared with Tiwary at the time.

According to a Straits Times report, all three were officers in the Singapore Armed Forces who had been studying at the University of New South Wales.

Tiwary, pleaded not guilty when his trial began on 15 May.

A 12-man jury found him guilty of both murders yesterday.

Tiwary faces at least 40 years in prison.

The Straits Times
Sydney murders: Blood is key evidence
By Ben Nadarajan
Jun 14, 2006

In Sydney - New South Wales police believe Singaporean student Ram Tiwary killed his two flatmates over money, but whether the jury agrees or not is likely to hinge on the issue of bloodstains.

The brutal murders of Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan and Mr Tay Chow Lyang left plenty of blood around the Barker Street apartment for Sydney detectives to analyse, and since there were no eyewitnesses, the prosecution is depending on this and circumstantial evidence to make its case.

Justice Michael Adams has commented several times that the bloodstains are ’significant, if not vital’ to the case. After a 17-day trial with over 40 witnesses, it boils down to three disputed points.

First, only Mr Tan’s blood was found on the murder weapons: an aluminium baseball bat and a kitchen knife. Forensic biologist Virginia Friedman also found Mr Tan’s DNA on both weapons, but not Mr Tay’s. This could be because the police sent her only swabs of the blood they spotted on the murder weapons for testing.

The laboratories never got to examine the weapons for blood, with equipment that can detect blood invisible to the naked eye, said Dr Friedman.

The defence’s expert witness, retired police crime scene investigator Warren Day, criticised the police for this. ‘In my era, we would have sent the whole weapon to the labs,’ said Mr Day, who retired in 1992 after 28 years on the force. ‘The police might not detect tiny specks of blood on the weapons, which the labs could.’

Defence counsel Peter Doyle got Dr Friedman and, later, crime scene investigator Philip Elliott to concede that they would have expected to find DNA of both victims on the weapons.

Detectives suggest that the blood from Mr Tay, who was attacked first, was washed off the weapons before they were later used on Mr Tan.

But if the killer had the presence of mind to wash the bat and knife the first time, why did he not do the same after killing Mr Tan?

Crime scene investigator Christopher Clarke said there was no sign of blood being washed down the sinks in the flat. Justice Adams also pointed out there were no water marks on the weapons to suggest they had been washed.

Mr Doyle has suggested that the baseball bat and knife the police seized were not the murder weapons, at least not those used on Mr Tay.

If the jury agrees, it means there could be another murder weapon and killer still out there, which would greatly weaken the prosecution’s case.

Another disputed issue is the absence of Mr Tay’s blood on Tiwary. Mr Day said he believed the man who attacked Mr Tay would ‘almost certainly’ get blood splattered on his front and perhaps even on his back, when the bloodied bat was swung backwards for subsequent strikes.

But Sergeant Elliott said blood from a victim does not always find its way onto the murderer: ‘Depending on the angle of the impact... and many other factors, the splatter might not land on any part of the assailant.’

Mr Doyle argued in his closing submissions that the absence of Mr Tay’s DNA on the accused was the ‘most striking feature of the crime scene’, and indicated his client was innocent.

Justice Adams appears to agree, describing the lack of Mr Tay’s blood on the weapons and on Tiwary a ‘mystery’ that will never be explained.

The third and perhaps most important aspect of the bloodstain evidence involves the spots of Mr Tan’s blood found on Tiwary.

When police arrived at the apartment after the murders, several red specks were on Tiwary’s hands, feet, T-shirt and shorts. Only those on his hands were obvious to the naked eye.

The police say the other stains were too small for the accused to notice, hence he did not get rid of them. As for the blood on his hands, they claim Tiwary left it there to corroborate his story about checking Mr Tan’s pulse.

They say the blood got there when Tiwary atacked Mr Tan, but Tiwary claims he was checking Mr Tan for a pulse when his dying flatmate coughed blood out onto him.

Justice Adams said this was a ‘crucial and decisive’ area that could swing the jury’s decision. No wonder, then, that the defence spent its entire case trying to establish Tiwary’s version of how the blood got there.

Blood splatter analysts could not agree on what the stains indicate. To Sgt Elliott, the blood spots were of ‘medium velocity’ type or ‘impact splatter’, the pattern of stains created when the body is struck with force.

The same kind of bloodstains were found on the wall behind where Mr Tan was assaulted, and on his feet. The police say this suggests two possibilities: Tiwary was the killer, or at the very least he was in ‘very close proximity’ when the victim was struck.

Defence counsel Doyle put forward a third possibility: When his client checked on his friend, Mr Tan’s airway became blocked and, even though he was unconscious, his body went into a reflex action and coughed out blood.

Mr Day pointed out circular smears in the blood spots, which he said were air bubbles from expirated blood.

Sgt Elliott agreed there was frothy blood on Mr Tan’s mouth, nose and throat, but none on Tiwary.

Medical experts also disagree over whether Mr Tan, with the massive injuries to his head, could expirate blood.

Forensic pathologist Johan DuFlou said it would have been impossible for someone as ‘deeply unconscious’ as Mr Tan, an argument supported by Dr Gordian Fulde, the director of emergency medicine at Sydney’s St Vincent Hospital.

Neurologist Mark Hersch, put on the stand by the defence, pointed to studies on animals that showed it is indeed possible. Dr Hersch noted that Mr Tan’s brain stem, which controls such reflexes, had not been damaged in the attack.

But, as Crown Prosecutor Tim Hoyle pointed out, the issue is not whether an unconscious man can expirate blood. The issue, and what Justice Adams called the ‘clincher evidence’, is how the blood got onto Tiwary.

If the jury concludes that it got there when Tiwary was trying to save his friend, or think there is sufficient doubt over how it got there, Tiwary will walk free.

Channel News Asia
UNSW double-murder trial begins
Tuesday May 16, 2006

The high-profile Ram Tiwary double-murder trial has begun in the New South Wales Supreme Court in Sydney.

The former Singapore Armed Forces scholar is charged with clubbing his two Singaporean flat-mates to death with a baseball bat on the morning of Sept 15, 2003.

Tiwary, who was a 24-year-old student at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) at the time, has pleaded not guilty to murdering fellow UNSW students Tony Tan Poh Chuan and Tay Chow Lyang, both 26.

The murder trial is expected to last up to six weeks.

Prosecutor Tim Hoyle told the jury that Tiwary had fallen behind on his rent and owed his flatmates A$5,000 ($6,050).

But beyond this possible trigger, the prosecutor admitted his case was built on circumstantial and forensic evidence.

The court heard Tiwary had bought the baseball bat used in the attack a few days before the murder and there were specks of blood on Tiwary’s hands and feet.

However, defence lawyer Peter Doyle reminded the jury that there were no witnesses and Tiwary had not fled the scene.

The blood specks may have been picked up when Tiwary checked one of the victims for signs of life, he argued.

Tiwary, who was the one who called the police, had claimed that he heard one of his flatmates running past his bedroom crying out for help, followed by a loud metallic thud.

When police arrived, they found Mr Tay dead on the floor with a massive injury to the back of his head.

The other victim, Mr Tan, was found dead near the front door of the flat.

He had been felled by a heavy blow and was also stabbed in the neck.

The prosecutor says both men suffered numerous defensive wounds to their hands.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 at 1:16 am and is filed under thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to "Life deals an unfortunate hand"

Kevin Says:
June 22nd, 2006 at 10:33 am
Pretty nuts man... gotta remember to look at the big picture whenever you’re angry. Something which might not look stupid at that moment, might turn out so later.

Biao Says:
June 23rd, 2006 at 1:56 am
I don’t mind doing something stupid when I go nuts but I think committing murder is several leagues above stupid.

I should make sure my response levels is not this:
1) Pout
2) Punch wall
3) Beat the shit out of people who annoy you.

Catholic Writings » More about Tiwary Says:
July 1st, 2006 at 12:22 am
[...] I got a comment from an ex-platoon mate of Tiwary’s in OCS with a link. Instead of leaving it in the comments, I decided to post it up here because there are some things that don’t sit well with me. [...]

tipper Says:
July 28th, 2006 at 12:29 am
I had relatively close contact with Puneet. Back in his secondary school days, when he fails to do his homework, the teacher would scold him. He would then retaliate with physical threats. When he assulted a teacher in front of the class, his father, who was an admin of the same school, scolded the TEACHER for scolding his son.

I’m not surprised at this murder incident.


July 1, 2006
More about Tiwary
Filed under: General, News - catholicwriter @ 4:04 pm

I got a comment from an ex-platoon mate of Tiwary’s in OCS with a link. Instead of leaving it in the comments, I decided to post it up here because there are some things that don’t sit well with me.

The news reports portray Tiwary as a liar, a thief, and an overall bad person. But that doesn’t make him a murderer.

The jury took five days to come to a unanimous decision on Tiwary’s fate. That means that there were objections to his guilt. To me, I would say that the evidence provided is insufficient to convict him.

One reason is the lack of a motivation for murder. The court’s conclusion is that Tiwary murdered one of his housemates for money, and eliminated the other to silence him.

Two questions arise: would any sane person murder another person for a mere $5,000? And it’s not like his family is poor, if he’s able to go to Sydney to study.

Second, the prosecutor says that blood from only one victim was found on the murder weapons - a knife and a bat.

The prosecutor said that Tiwary could have washed the blood after killing his first victim. But the defendant pointed out that if Tiwary was coolheaded enough to do that the first time, why not the second?

Evidence showed that there was no sign of blood in the sink pipes or any marks, and neither was there any signs on the murder weapons of them having been washed. Based on this, the defendant believes that there is a second set of murder weapons out there.

Another issue brought up is that the police did not send the murder weapons for testing at the labs. They only sent blood samples found on the murder weapon.

I feel that’s sloppy investigation and that there could be another murderer on the loose in Sydney because a proper investigation was not carried out.

There’s just so many loose ends that need to be looked into... and I think it’s just wrong to judge a person based on his personality. Granted that the jury probably didn’t do that, but that’s what the news reports making readers do. They’re making people go, "No wonder he’s a murderer lah, he’s a liar, a thief, and hot-tempered some more. Sure guilty one!"

in logic, this is a fallacy named ad hominem.
Comment by reginaxie - July 1, 2006 @ 11:43 pm

Hey, I remember seeing a similar thing during the GE period...
Comment by catholicwriter - July 2, 2006 @ 12:05 am

I read your story, and I believe what you say. But that’s only one side of him.

I had relatively close contact with Puneet. Back in his secondary school days, when he fails to do his homework, the teacher would scold him. He would then retaliate with physical threats. When he assulted a teacher in front of the class, his father, who was an admin of the same school, scolded the TEACHER for scolding his son.

I’m not surprised at this murder incident.
Comment by tipper - July 28, 2006 @ 4:31 pm


With such unusual traffic searching for the sentencing on Ram Puneet Tiwary, how can I have the heart to disappoint? But let's backtrack a little initially.

The Straits Times
July 10, 2006
By Andy Ho

Two criminal cases were in the headlines in recent weeks. In Sydney, 12 jurors unanimously found Ram Puneet Tiwary guilty of killing Tony Tan Poh Chuan and Tay Chow Lyang on Sept 15, 2003. All involved were Singaporeans. Tiwary is likely to be sentenced to two life sentences or 40 years.

In Singapore, Briton Michael McCrea killed his Singaporean driver Kho Nai Guan on Jan 2, 2002, and, a day later, Kho's girlfriend, a China national called Lan Ya Ming. After a bench trial (one without a jury), McCrea was sentenced to 24 years' jail.

Granted that their individual circumstances were different, a jury trial (in Australia) led to a longer sentence than a bench trial (in Singapore), even though both cases involved double killings.

Some people feel that Singapore should return to trial by jury. They say we should look at Japan, which passed a law in 2004 to implement a jury system in 2009. At the very least, they say, those charged with serious crimes in Singapore should have the option of a jury trial.

Would that improve the criminal justice system? Many factors say no.

What on earth is this 'kill' word? Genocide (Mass Murder)? Homicide (pre-Meditated Murder)? Culpable homicide (Man-slaughter)? So reluctant to dial 'M'? Further down in the commentary,

Jurors are amateur adjudicators. They have inherent limits in, first, time - their lives and work schedules cannot be interrupted indefinitely; second, experience - by design, jurors have little or none; and, third, resources - jurors have neither staff nor researchers to help them.

In Singapore, jury trials lasted from 1826 until 1960, when they became restricted to capital offences. In the first reading to amend the Criminal Procedure Bill in 1959 for this purpose, then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew argued that juries could be swayed by eloquent defense lawyers.

In his 2000 memoirs, Mr Lee said he had himself secured the acquittal of four alleged murderers in a 1950 riot case - as was his professional duty to do so - in part by working on the weaknesses of the jury. That left him with 'grave doubts about the practical value of the jury system in Singapore'.

In 1970, juries were abolished altogether. Speaking during the second reading of the Criminal Procedure Bill for this purpose, Mr Lee argued that juries seemed 'overwhelmed' by the burden of finding a man guilty of a capital offence. After the second reading, the Bill was referred to a select committee, where Mr Lee had an exchange with Mr David Marshall, 'then our most successful criminal lawyer, (who) claimed he had 99 acquittals out of 100 cases he had defended for murder', as Mr Lee put it in his memoirs.

When Mr Lee asked him if the 99 had been wrongly charged, Mr Marshall replied that it was not for him to judge but to defend them, which only buttressed Mr Lee's point that a lawyer with the requisite oratorical skills and flair for the dramatic might just be able to sway juries.

In the select committee too, as Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang pointed out in a 1983 article he wrote while still a tutor at the National University of Singapore law faculty, two sets of jurors offered testimony which shed some light on how juries functioned here at the time. (The inner sanctum of jury deliberations is traditionally off limits to everyone else in virtually all jurisdictions.)

First, the foreman in a case dubbed the Peeping Tom murder revealed that a 4-3 decision had been reached rather than the minimum 5-2 required by law. However, he had erroneously reported a unanimous verdict. Realizing his mistake later on, he notified the High Court Registrar but, by then, no reversals could be made. The foreman revealed that at least four of the seven jurors were totally confused by the terms 'majority' and 'unanimous'.

Second, there was testimony that many jurors in what was dubbed the Murder By Car case could not even read the oath properly. Moreover, one juror had called another afterwards to say he was shocked at the death sentence, which he did not know was mandated by law. However, he mistakenly spoke to the juror's brother, who informed the killer's lawyer.

At select committee, the juror admitted to these facts but insisted that jury trials should be abolished. Clearly, he would have found the accused guilty of a lesser charge had he known about the mandatory death sentence. Another juror also expressed similar distress upon learning about the death sentence after the fact. These lent support to Mr Lee's point that local juries were hesitant to convict because of the death penalty.

Overall, at the time, public support for serving on juries was clearly less than enthusiastic. Unsurprisingly, the Bill passed with little opposition.

Would a more educated citizenry today make for better jurors?

We do know that they would certainly cost more. Operating a jury system will incur costs in gathering names to draw a list of possible jurors. There have to be staff to summon jurors, answer queries, reschedule those with conflicts, check jurors in on the first day of jury duty, and escort them to the right courtroom. In court, they must be instructed again and either is chosen or sent home. Those chosen must be then be sheltered and sometimes sequestered throughout the trial.

Costs are also incurred by jurors and their employers in terms of lost time, wages and productivity.

Also, jury trials are simply longer than bench trials. Jurors must be selected and instructed anew in each case. Motions must be filed and hearings conducted to shield jurors from inadmissible evidence. By contrast, in a bench trial, the judge can listen to all evidence submitted and decide which is not admissible.

Moreover, lawyers typically reiterate an important fact many times to make sure that no juror misses it. Thus trying a case will just take longer than a bench trial.

And as each trial gets longer, fewer can be tried, witnesses may move away, their recall could fade and some may even die in the interim.

These not inconsiderable costs aside, the cultural context to jury trials must be kept in mind. It was the fear of government oppression in the form of misguided legislatures, iniquitous judges or overzealous prosecutors that led Americans to favor divided over efficient government. Jury trials were part of that plan: Having both judge and jury approve each judgment meant that one would need to corrupt both court and jury to cause a miscarriage of justice.

Not so in Singapore. The idea here is that it is far better to choose the right personnel than look to checks and balances in the criminal justice system. With responsible and competent officials in charge, checks and balances are less important; if they are not, no checks and balances will suffice anyway.

Here, at bench trials, the judge functions to make sure that police and prosecutors have made no obvious errors in their pre-trial investigations which help to establish guilt. Such an approach trades off what would be long drawn-out jury trials for efficient administrative decisions.

When it's so tongue-tripping just negotiating the 'M' word, how could the Straits Times cover Ram Puneet Tiwary's sentencing. McCrea was sentenced to 24 years jail. No blue collar. If his stay in the slammer is uneventful, he'd be out in 18. That's Singapore perverted justice.

Ram Puneet Tiwary hails from an extended family that boasts several legal experts on Singapore law. Nobody told him Australian justice was different. Nobody told him to pay for his baseball bat in cold hard cash. Nobody told him to vary his methods a little. Nobody told him his plan stank a mile off. Nobody told him two hour breaks in-between 'killings' was pushing his luck (And no, not even if he took a day off in-between either). Nobody told him he'd get life. Here's your update.

Channel News Asia
06 November 2006
By Lau Joon-Nie

Singaporean Ram Tiwary has been sentenced to life imprisonment by an Australian court for bludgeoning his two flatmates to death with a baseball bat.

The three men, all Singaporeans, had shared an apartment in the eastern Sydney suburb of Kingsford at the time of the murder in September 2003.

They were all engineering students at the University of New South Wales.

The New South Wales Supreme Court heard that Tiwary, then 24, had owed Mr Tay Chow Lyang more than five thousand Australian dollars (over US$3,800) in rent.

Tiwary was handed a 25-year jail sentence for killing Mr Tay.

But he received a concurrent life sentence without parole for murdering Mr Tan Poh Chuan two hours after attacking Mr Tay.

In passing sentence, the court took into account his youth and the brutality of the attacks, especially on Mr Tan which showed that it had been planned.

Tiwary was found guilty after a 16-day jury trial which ended in June.

In a 13-page judgment, Justice Michael Adams described the killings as 'extremely grave' and 'taken together, readily fall into the most serious class of murder'.

'I do not doubt there are some cases where the crimes are so heinous that, simply put, a life sentence is deserved and the only way in which adequate punishment and retribution can be reflected in the sentence is by way of the imposition of sentence without the possibility of release,' he wrote.

Said Justice Adams: 'The murder of Mr Tan is the more serious of the two ... because it followed the first and thus, permits no room for doubt that it was premeditated and deliberately undertaken in full knowledge of the nature of the crime; I consider, also, that it was committed in order to remove a potential incriminating witness from the scene in an attempt to avoid justice.'


Uni student accused of killing flatmates
August 31, 2009 - 5:49PM

A Singaporean scholarship student is accused of murdering his two flatmates by bludgeoning them with a baseball bat and stabbing them, a jury has been told.

But Ram Puneet Tiwary, now 30, told police he was asleep and woke to hear screams and a hitting sound before discovering the two bloodied bodies in their Sydney flat.

Tiwary has pleaded not guilty in the NSW Supreme Court to murdering Chow Lyang Tay and Poh Chuan Tan, both 26, on September 15, 2003, at their Kingsford flat.

On Monday, the jury was told the three were Singaporeans, studying engineering at the University of NSW.

Tiwary's barrister, David Dalton SC, made various admissions on his behalf, including that he had bought a baseball bat two days before the murder.

He was on a scholarship from the Singapore armed services and under an agreement his fees and an allowance were paid.

But he was required to study full-time, although he did not re-enrol for one of his semesters, and he had failed some subjects but told the army he had passed.

He also admitted that police found a note in his bedroom, in Mr Tay's writing, which set out a $5,054 debt owed by Tiwary.

He further agreed he was to take over paying the $2,172 monthly rent from two days before the murders but this was never paid.

In the crown opening address, John Kiely SC said these factors resulted in this being a "stressful time" for Tiwary.

At 2.20pm on September 15, Tiwary made a triple-zero call, saying there had been two murders at the flat, that he had been in his room and his friends were lying dead outside.

The victims had extensive head injuries and stab wounds to the neck, with one forensic expert saying the former were the most severe he had seen in his 20 years' experience.

Tiwary, who had dried blood on his hands, was observed by police to be agitated, shaking and rambling.

Mr Kiely said both victims had money in their wallets and nothing was reported missing from the unit.

"It would appear that robbery was not a motive in this particular case," he said.

Mr Dalton is expected to give a defence opening address on Tuesday at the trial before Justice Peter Johnson.

© 2009 AAP


S'porean on trial again for Sydney murders
[2009] 31 Aug_ST

Title: S'porean on trial again for Sydney murders
Source: Straits Times
Author: K. C. Vijayan, Law Correspondent

Legal News Archive

SIX years after two Singaporean students were found brutally battered to death in their Sydney apartment, the man accused of killing them goes on trial for the second time today.

This time round, though, Singaporean Ram Puneet Tiwary, now 28, will testify in his defence, unlike the first trial three years ago when he chose to remain silent.

Then, after 18 days of hearing, Tiwary was convicted of the double murders by a jury and was later ordered to be jailed for life. The jury took five days to deliberate before returning a guilty verdict.

He earned a reprieve last December when a New South Wales Appeal Court ruled that the way the trial judge instructed the jury to regard the evidence presented was improper.

The judges also felt some of the evidence presented by the prosecution did not support a conviction, but they also said they were not convinced Tiwary should be acquitted.

Tiwary is accused of murdering his fellow Singaporeans Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, in September 2003 in a duplex apartment they shared near the University of New South Wales campus in Barker Street where they all studied.

He allegedly bashed and stabbed Mr Tay to death sometime before noon on Sept 5, 2003, and then did the same to Mr Tan when he returned from school two hours later.

The prosecution's case was that he killed them over a dispute over money - they had dug up evidence that Tiwary owed them money for rent.

Round two of the trial, which has been set for three weeks, will involve 20 witnesses.

It is understood that several witnesses from Singapore will also be travelling to Sydney to testify, though the relatives of the two murdered men have chosen not to go.

These witnesses will mainly be those who knew the three men during their time studying in Sydney at the University of New South Wales.

Tiwary is currently housed at the Long Bay Jail Complex, about 40 minutes drive from Sydney's central district, where the court is located.

His family, who will be in Sydney to attend the trial, has hired a Queen's Counsel from Australia to defend him.

In the first trial, Tiwary's lawyer was assigned by the state and it later emerged that it was the lawyer's first murder trial and he had less than three years' experience under his belt.

Tiwary's decision to take the stand this time round is expected to shed more light into what actually happened on the day of the murders.

None of the witnesses in the first trial saw what had happened in the flat before the police were called in.

Tiwary had maintained that he slept through the murders and had woken up to find his friends dead and had fled the apartment in fear.

Tiwary's lawyer from Singapore, Ramesh Tiwary, said: 'We hope to see a closure with this outcome as the families of the victims and everyone else need to move on with their lives.'

One of the murdered men's father, Mr Tan Wee Sea, who suffered a stroke last year, said the family would not be going for the re-trial.

'Of course I'm unhappy that there is another trial. This would probably never happen in Singapore,' said the 57-year-old.

ST Aug 31, 2009
Tiwary's re-trial starts
By Sujin Thomas

IN his opening address at the re-trial of Singaporean Ram Puneet Tiwary, Crown Prosecutor John Kiely gave the jury a summary of witness testimonies.

He was drawing attention to how Tiwary, who is charged with two counts of murder, behaved after he ran out of his flat at 109, Barker Street, to seek help from police officers and paramedics on September 15, 2003.

In nearly all accounts, Tiwary, then 23, was said to have been shaky and took time to answer questions posed to him.

That day, Tiwary's flatmates Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, and Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, were clubbed and stabbed to death in the apartment. Tiwary's baseball bat and a kitchen knife are believed to be the murder weapons.

Forensic examinations found Mr Tan's blood and strands of hair on them, but not Mr Tay's. Likewise, the only spots of blood found on Tiwary came from Mr Tan.

This is the second time the former engineering undergraduate is on trial for the murders of the two Singaporeans. All three were studying at the University of New South Wales.

On Monday, Tiwary looked confident as he sat in the dock, dressed in a black suit. He busily took notes during the proceedings and even engaged in friendly banter with court sheriffs during breaks, flashing a warm, broad smile.

His family members were absent from Sydney's King Street Courts, where the three-week trial is being held.

Crease lines on his forehead only began to show when Mr Kiely delved deeper into witness testimonies, summarising those of Tiwary's friends whom he had recounted the incident to in the weeks following the murders.

Tiwary had told them that he had been out on the day of the murders and came home to find his housemates dead. On the contrary, Tiwary said in his earlier police statement that he had been sleeping in his bedroom when he heard a commotion outside.

However, Mr Kiely cautioned the jury: 'People lie for various reasons. It does not mean that he is guilty. He may have been ashamed that he stayed in his room throughout the incident.'

The prosecution stressed that the apartment's monthly rent of AU$2,172.60 (S$2,630.25) - which the three men shared among themselves - is an important point in the case.

It alleges that Tiwary was not paying his share, going by notes found in the flat in Mr Tay's handwriting. The notes stated outstanding sums of money to him owed by Tiwary.

Mr Tay had been in charge of settling the rent each month, before collecting his housemates' share.

However, Mr Tan and Mr Tay were due to complete their studies and return to Singapore at the end of that semester, leaving Tiwary in the 'stressful situation' of taking on the rent himself, said Mr Kiely.

He also pointed out that both the dead men's wallets appeared intact and contained cash when police found them.

Mr Kiely said: 'It would appear that robbery was not a motive in this case.'

On Tuesday morning, the jury will be taken to the scene of the murders to get a clearer idea of the apartment's layout as well its surrounding areas. Video evidence of Tiwary being interviewed by the police will also be screened in court.

A total of 223 witnesses are due to take the stand during the trial.


Flatmates' deaths 'shocked' accused man
September 1, 2009 - 5:59PM

A student who has denied murdering his two flatmates was embarrassed because he didn't leave his room to help them when he heard noises, a jury has been told.

In the defence's opening address, David Dalton SC said that explained why Ram Puneet Tiwary later lied to friends when he said he was not at the Sydney flat when they were murdered.

Tiwary, now 30, has pleaded not guilty in the NSW Supreme Court to murdering Chow Lyang Tay and Poh Chuan Tan, both 26, on September 15, 2003, at their Kingsford flat.

The three were Singaporeans, studying engineering at the nearby University of NSW.

The victims were stabbed and bludgeoned with a baseball bat.

On Tuesday, Mr Dalton said that one reason Tiwary was before the court was because he said he was asleep in the middle of the afternoon on a Monday in September, 2003.

"He was asleep in his room when his two friends and his two flatmates had been savagely and brutally beaten and killed," he said.

"But because he said he was asleep in his room that has given rise to suspicions."

Mr Dalton said he expected jurors would hear evidence that it was not unusual for Tiwary to be asleep in the middle of the day.

Another reason he was before the court was because of inconsistencies in what he told people about the way he discovered his friends and what ensued thereafter.

"On that issue, we will refer to what any human being will understand to be the sort of trauma, the sort of shock, he would be experiencing at that time," Mr Dalton said.

He said Tiwary told "untruths" to friends, but not to police, when he said he was out at the time of the murders.

But he referred to the "fairly human response" of Tiwary feeling "acute embarrassment" as a result of his not coming out of his room when he heard at least one friend being beaten.

Mr Dalton noted the crown alleged Tiwary had owed $5,000 in back rent and claimed his life was falling apart as a result of the debt and other matters.

"Ultimately, we will say to you how implausible it is that this man would kill his friends in that way, even if he did owe some back rent to Mr Tay," Mr Dalton said.

He said the jury would hear evidence of an unidentified car, with one man in it, leaving the scene.

Another witness reported seeing a different unidentified car parked in the laneway behind the units about 90 minutes before emergency services were called.

Further, Mr Dalton said two students would give evidence of seeing Mr Tan get into a car, near the university and near the units, about 25 minutes before Tiwary made the emergency call.

The car and its occupant, or occupants, had never been identified and Mr Dalton asked why Mr Tan got in shortly before he was murdered.

The trial is continuing before Justice Peter Johnson.

© 2009 AAP

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 2, 2009
Worst crime scene: Police
By Sujin Thomas

Detective Sergeant Philip Elliott (left) has seen many a dead body after 19 years in the job but the badly battered bodies of two Singaporean students murdered in 2003 in Sydney were the worst he had ever come across. --ST PHOTO: SUJIN THOMAS

SYDNEY - DETECTIVE Sergeant Philip Elliott has seen many a dead body after 19 years in the job but the badly battered bodies of two Singaporean students murdered in 2003 in Sydney were the worst he had ever come across.

Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan's head was 'deformed and extensively damaged', said the veteran detective on the stand on Wednesday.

Pieces of plastic, presumably from a newly-bought aluminium baseball bat which was used on him, were stuck to his head in a bloody mess of skin, bone and hair.

The impact of the swinging bat also sprayed several of Mr Tan's teeth, and the lenses of his spectacles, across the living room, where he is believed to have been initially attacked. The assault even flung droplets of Mr Tan's blood onto the ceiling.

Frothy blood had also spurted from three stab wounds to his neck, soaking his clothes when police found his body.

Sgt Elliott, who was among the first police officers to arrive at the murder scene, said: 'In my experience, I have not seen that amount of injury to a deceased's head as a result of an attack by a weapon.'

The other victim, Mr Tay Chow Lyang, also had injuries to his head and stab wounds in his neck, although his injuries were not as severe.

His left index finger was crushed while Mr Tan's hands were swollen and bruised - signs that both men had tried to fend off the attacks with their hands and arms.

A day after the 12-member jury was shown a video of the crime scene taken within hours of the police arriving at the apartment, Sgt Elliott also spoke at length about the blood stains discovered there. He said the stains suggest that Mr Tan had managed to somehow move from the living room where he was attacked to the end of a hallway where his body was later found.

There was also blood spatter on the wall near where Mr Tan was found, suggesting the murderer had attacked Mr Tan there as well. Mr Tay's body was found behind a two-seater couch in the living room.

Apu Neh thinks by staying at crime scene will make him look innocent?

Think motive, Apu Neh! Think motive, dumb fuck! Sign on some more!

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 3, 2009
'Rattled, distressed'
By Sujin Thomas

The first thing Ram Puneet Tiwary told an emergency services operator on the telephone was that he needed help because there had been 'a murder' in his Sydney flat. -- ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK

SYDNEY - THE first thing Ram Puneet Tiwary told an emergency services operator on the telephone was that he needed help because there had been 'a murder' in his Sydney flat.

He then went on to describe to the operator what he had seen just outside his bedroom in the apartment he shared with Singaporeans Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, and Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26.

Heavily breathing, he stuttered: 'I think.. My friends are lying down outside. There's blood all over the place.' When the operator asked him what had happened, he frantically replied: 'I woke up and there was screaming outside.'

A voice recording of the '000' call made at about 2.20pm on September 15, 20003, was played in front of a tense New South Wales Supreme Court on Thursday.

As members of the 12-man jury busily took notes, Tiwary, 30, sat in the dock dressed in a black suit, with his head hung low and brow deeply furrowed.

During the call, which he said was made his bedroom, Tiwary is heard shouting expletives, when the operator puts him on call waiting to transfer him to another operator.

He later tells the operator that he had left his bedroom and found Tan lying in a pool of blood near the front door. He grabbed a softball bat, which he said was near Tan's body and went to the living room where he noticed that the rear door was open. The TV set was still on.

Closing the door, he ran to his room again, and barricaded himself behind the door with a black cabinet. Later on, when the operator told him that police were already outside his flat, he asked if he could go outside.

The operator suggested that he put down the softball bat first before leaving the building. He replied, stopping himself short: 'They're going to think.. Okay.'

Paramedics and police officers at the scene also took the stand on Thursday, describing Tiwary's state of mind when he approached them outside the flat. Almost all of them noticed his bloodied hands and said he was 'rattled', 'bewildered' and 'distressed'.

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 6, 2009
Sydney double murder retrial
He didn't blame it on Chinese Triads
By Sujin Thomas

Sentenced to life imprisonment without reprieve, Tiwary got a second chance when an appeals court ruled that the trial judge had not properly directed the jury during the first trial. -- PHOTO: PETER MORRIS

SIX years on, the double murders of his flatmates in this Australian city - for which Singaporean Ram Puneet Tiwary is being retried - have lost none of their horror.

Sentenced to life imprisonment without reprieve, Tiwary got a second chance when an appeals court ruled that the trial judge had not properly directed the jury during the first trial.

This time round, there are 12 new people in the jury box, a different prosecutor - Mr John Keily - and a new formidable presence in the defence, Senior Counsel David Dalton.

There were grim faces during the first week of the hearing, while the crime scene was laid out - once again - in gruesomely graphic detail by the prosecution. Jury members frowned as they passed around sealed plastic bags containing the alleged murder weapons: A kitchen knife and an aluminium softball bat, both still bloodstained.

There was the seasoned police officer who reprised his testimony, describing the state of the bodies as the worst he had ever seen.

Accompanied by police officers, the judge and the lawyers, the 12 jury members were taken to view the flat in which the two young men were knifed and battered to death.

It is now repainted several times over and is accommodation to foreign graduate students who knew nothing of its tragic history.

The first few days of the hearing last week centred on Tiwary's reaction after finding his flatmates, Mr Tan Poh Chuan, 27, and Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, dead in the apartment which they shared in the student-populated suburb of Kingsford.

This was culled from statements given by police officers, as well as paramedics, who arrived at the scene on the balmy afternoon of Sept 15, 2003.

On the stand, nearly all of them used words such as 'distressed', 'bewildered' and 'shaking' to describe Tiwary's demeanour as he ran towards them.

Tiwary's account is that as his flatmates were being brutally murdered, he cowered in his room, barricading himself behind the locked door with a cabinet.

Amidst a distinct lack of coverage of the on-going re-trial of Ram Puneet Tiwary for double murder, the latest we have of the scenario is:

1. The two murders were some hours apart.

2. Tiwary professed he was cowardly fortified in his room, venturing out only after the second murder.

3. Assuming that he had nothing to do with the murders, from the resulting brutality with which his room-mates were killed, one can assume motives which must have resulted in vituperations accompanying the violence, which Tiwary cannot have avoided overhearing.

4. Tiwary has had enough time to conjure a story, yes? He will be questioned on what transpired between the assailants and their victims, yes?

What do you think Tiwary will say in Court? This time he has chosen to take the stand, yes?

Tiwary's task is either very easy or very hard, depending on which side you're on.

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 9, 2009
Never heard of dispute
By Sujin Thomas

The prosecutor trying to convict Tiwary, now 30, of the double murders had pinpointed the rent issue as the motive for the brutal murders on Sept 15, 2003. -- ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK

SYDNEY - IN THE days just before two Singaporean flatmates were murdered in a Sydney apartment, none of their friends or family sensed anything wrong.

Nor were they aware of any tension or disputes the two men had with their flat mate Ram Puneet Tiwary, who is now being retried for their murders, over rent or money.

The prosecutor trying to convict Tiwary, now 30, of the double murders had pinpointed the rent issue as the motive for the brutal murders on Sept 15, 2003.

Friends of the two dead men - Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 27, and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 26 - told a New South Wales Supreme Court that they never complained about any money owed to them. The pair also never mentioned that they never owed anyone any money.

On Wednesday, Mr Chaw Bak You, an Australian permanent resident from Singapore, said the two men never argued with Tiwary.

Mr Chaw, 34, got to know the others in the household through Mr Tay, whom he became friends with in 1994 when they studied engineering together at the Singapore Polytechnic.

He said that the only time any mention of money came up was about a week before the murders. Mr Tay told him Tiwary had gone to their real estate agent's office to pay the rent of $2,172.60 a month.

'Ram said that he had gone to the real estate agent to pay the rent but had an argument with the agent and that rent would only be reflected in the other housemates' bank accounts a few days later,' Mr Chaw told the court. 'Somehow, Ram couldn't pay the rent.'

Mr Chaw, who had previously lived at the apartment before Tiwary moved in, graduated from university and returned to Singapore in 2002. In late July 2003, he returned to Australia when he got his permanent residency, and stayed at the Barker Street apartment for about a week before he found his own place.

Mr Tan's petite mother, Madam Chiew Lee Hua, 55, who also took the stand on Wednesday, said she had last spoken to her son over the telephone on Sept 10, five days before the murder.

Better some unidentified Chinese Triads than your obvious room-mate.

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 10, 2009
Victim 'in car with Asians'
By Sujin Thomas

Ram Puneet Tiwary is now accused of murder. -- ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK

SYDNEY - ABOUT half an hour before he was murdered, Singaporean undergraduate Tony Tan Poh Chuan did something unusual.

Instead of walking home from the University of New South Wales or riding his bicycle home, as he usually did, the 27-year-old got into a car with a few Asians. Little else is known about the car, which was on the wrong side of the road, or its passengers.

But this much was clear: By 2.30pm on Sept 15, 2003, Mr Tan was dead in his apartment on Barker Street, a five-minute walk from where he was last seen.

Mr Tan's flatmate and fellow Singaporean, Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, was also found murdered in the flat.

Their flatmate, Ram Puneet Tiwary, 30, who claimed to have been asleep when they were bludgeoned and stabbed, is now accused of murder.

His lawyer, Senior Counsel David Dalton, had earlier raised questions as to whether the passengers and the driver of the car could have been involved in the deaths.

The lawyer told the court that the police never found the car, nor its driver and its passengers.

In court on Thursday, two friends who had been with Mr Tan on the afternoon of Sept 15 six years ago gave varying accounts of their brief encounter with him.

Mr Jonathan Choy and Mr Sean Murray told the court they were climbing up a steep flight of steps outside the lecture theatre when they saw Mr Tan.

Mr Choy said: 'He was powering through the stairs. He said 'hi' but didn't engage in a chat.'

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 11, 2009
New flatmates were told a different story
By Sujin Thomas

Tiwary told the police at the time that he had been asleep during the attacks and had woken to find his flatmates dead in the blood-stained living room. -- ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK

SYDNEY - SIX months after the murders of his two flatmates, Singaporean Ram Puneet Tiwary opened up to his new flatmates at another apartment, telling them what had happened that morning in 2003.

However, the stories he told, sometime in March or April 2004, differed from what he had told the police.

He had told his new flatmates he had been out, and that he returned on the morning of Sept 15 that year to find Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, bludgeoned and stabbed to death.

But Tiwary told the police at the time that he had been asleep during the attacks and had woken to find his flatmates dead in the blood-stained living room.

During his opening address at Tiwary's murder retrial, his lawyer, Senior Counsel David Dalton, said Tiwary, currently in remand, felt embarrassed for staying in his room and not coming to the aid of his flatmates.

He said: 'He told untruths, not to the police, but to his friends.'

The murders took place in Flat 2 at 109, Barker Street, near the University of New South Wales, where all three were studying.

In a New South Wales Supreme Court on Friday, one of Tiwary's former flatmates from 39, Barker Street said the topic came up when she asked him why he had moved into their flat mid-way through the semester.

Tiwary, now 30, initially refused to talk. But when Australians Julia Mathams and Josephine Luk probed, he told them he had been the two dead men's flatmate.

The murders had been a hot topic on campus after students were informed of it via e-mail in the weeks following the two Singaporeans' deaths.

S’porean killed in Sydney got into an Asian woman’s car before death

Channel News Asia - Tuesday, September 15

SYDNEY: One of the two Singaporean students bludgeoned to death in Sydney in 2003 is alleged to have gotten into a car being driven by a young Asian woman shortly before his murder.

This was revealed in the ongoing trial of Ram Tiwary, who is accused of killing the two students.

The Singaporean who is accused of killing fellow students Tony Tan Poh Chuan and Tay Chow Lyang, said that he was told by an acquaintance he named as Yong Wei, that Tan was seen getting into a white vehicle at the University of New South Wales.

The sighting was revealed by Tiwary during a video—taped interview recorded on the day of his arrest in May 2004 and played to the court during a hearing on Monday.

Tiwary said the Asian girl was described as having black hair, but he had no idea who she was. There may have been two men also in the car, which could have been a small—to—medium sized Toyota or Volkswagen, he added.

"As far as I know, none of his friends came to pick him up of drop him off," said Tiwary during Monday’s hearing.

He also recalled during the interview that the other murdered student had cancelled an appointment on the day of the murders "because he had something very important to do".

Tan and Tay were later found dead in the blood—spattered flat they shared with Tiwary, only a short distance from the university where they all studied.

Tiwary, who is now aged 30, has pleaded not guilty to their murders.

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 15, 2009
'Tiwary stuttered; in shock'
By Sujin Thomas

Ram Puneet Tiwary's then-girlfriend told a New South Wales Supreme Court that Tiwary stuttered when he spoke, which was something he never does. --ST PHOTO: PETER MORRIS

AT THE time of the murders of Singaporeans Tay Chow Lyang and Tony Tan Poh Chuan, Ram Puneet Tiwary was supposed to have met his girlfriend.

But when he did not turn up at the University of New South Wales - where they had earlier planned to meet - at 2pm on Sept 15, 2003, she sent him an SMS.

He did not reply. Ten minutes later, she sent him another text message: 'I guess you are still sleeping. Bye.'

When she got him on the line minutes later, she realised something was wrong.

On Tuesday, which was the anniversary of the murders, Tiwary's then-girlfriend Elvira Metiljevic, an Australian, told a New South Wales Supreme Court that Tiwary stuttered when he spoke - something he never does.

She said that Tiwary had finished work at 6pm the evening before and came home to watch TV with Mr Tan and Mr Tay before going to bed sometime after 11pm. It was not unusual for Tiwary to be asleep in the afternoon, she said.

Tiwary said he had been asleep and woke up the next day to find Mr Tan and Mr Tay both bludgeoned and stabbed in neck.

Metiljevic, who is of Bosnian descent, met Tiwary in 2000 while both of them studied at the university. The pair became a couple sometime between February and March 2003.

'His voice was very soft. He sounded like his teeth were chattering. It sounded like he was in shock.'

Ms Metiljevic then left the campus and headed to the city with relatives.

Later that evening, she briefly spoke with Tiwary over the phone again. Without going into details, he told her that 'something serious had happened' and that he would tell her more the next day.

This guy is unbelievable!

How do you measure success with women? Must you be bonking one every other night? Hello, they were both married. Should they be sleeping around?

Tiwary "too ashamed" to reveal truth in Sydney murder case

Channel News Asia - Thursday, September 17

SYDNEY: A Singaporean, who is accused of killing two fellow students in a Sydney apartment they shared, said on Wednesday he told different stories about what happened because he was embarrassed to reveal the truth.

Ram Tiwary told police that he was asleep in the apartment when fellow Singaporeans Tony Tan Poh Chuan and Tay Chow Lyang were beaten to death with a baseball bat in September 2003.

But afterwards, he told friends that he was out at the time and had returned home to find their bodies.

The reason, he said, was because he was too ashamed to admit that he had hid in his bedroom as he was afraid to confront the attacker.

Tiwary revealed in a taped interview played to the New South Wales Supreme Court that he felt bad about not going to the aid of his friends and he hated telling people the truth.

He agreed that being an experienced soldier belonging to the Singapore military only made his position worse.

Asked about the blood on his hands, shorts and feet, he explained that he had checked Tan’s pulse and the victim had coughed up blood.

Tiwary also revealed in the interview that the two victims were seen talking to a pretty Asian girl outside their flat two nights before the murders, which he claimed was odd because neither had much success with women.

According to a note found in Tiwary’s bedroom, both victims owed more than $500 each in rent.

There was also talk at Wednesday’s hearing of a mystery man named Andrew who was believed to have owed rent on the flat. But the defendant said he had no idea who Andrew was.

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 21, 2009
New evidence
By Sujin Thomas

New evidence has emerged in the retrial of Ram Puneet Tiwary (left) that one of the two dead Singaporean men frequently corresponded with a woman two months before the murders. --ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK

In Sydney

NEW evidence has emerged in the retrial of Ram Puneet Tiwary that one of the two dead Singaporean men frequently corresponded with a woman two months before the murders.

Tiwary's lawyer Senior Counsel David Dalton tendered to a New South Wales supreme court on Monday, 22-pages of online chat messages between Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and a woman in Singapore identified as Ms Jasmine Tan.

The correspondence, using chat application ICQ, was from between June 16 and 30, 2003 - about two months before Mr Tay and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, were found murdered in the Sydney apartment they shared with Tiwary. Both men were violently bludgeoned and stabbed in the neck.

In a 2005 police statement, Ms Tan, then 28, said that she had met Mr Tay in 1995 while the pair studied engineering together at Singapore Polytechnic. They lost touch after graduating two years later but began contacting each other again either via e-mail or ICQ in 2002.

In one of the messages, Mr Tay said to Ms Tan: 'Ranger paying my rent this month...so got couple of hundred dollars.. What better way than to share my joy with you.'

Mr Tay, who was married, shipped a parcel of coffee to Ms Tan. Months before, he had also shipped a bouquet of flowers to her.

The prosecution argues that Tiwary committed the murders because of back rent, amounting to A$5,000, he allegedly owed Mr Tay.

Tiwary, who was studying in Australia under a Singapore Armed Forces scholarship, was a commando in the army who had undergone a military ranger course.

In the chat messages, Mr Tay repeatedly asked Ms Tan to visit him, even calling her a 'medusa and nymph rolled into one'.

Ms Tan, who was in a relationship at the time, said that she was going to be jobless soon and could not afford the trip.

Mr Tay continued: 'Come alone...cheaper, better...The more I think of you, the longer my horns grow.'

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 22, 2009
Defence filing closing submissions today
Accused's lawyer shows court online exchanges between victim and woman in Spore two months before murders
By Sujin Thomas

The defence submitted 22 pages of chat messages between Mr Tay and a woman in Singapore but has yet to explain the info's relevance. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE TAY FAMILY

SYDNEY - IN A courtroom surprise, new evidence has been submitted by the defence in the retrial of Ram Puneet Tiwary to show that one of the two dead Singaporean men had frequently corresponded with a woman two months before the murders.

Tiwary's lawyer, Senior Counsel David Dalton, tendered to a New South Wales Supreme Court on Monday 22 pages of online chat messages between Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and a woman in Singapore identified as Ms Jasmine Tan.

This was the first time that information about the private life of one of the victims had surfaced in court - on day 16 of the trial - and it was greeted with surprise by members of the jury.

Mr Dalton has yet to explain the relevance of the new information, but is expected to do so today when he gives his closing address.

The correspondence using chat application ICQ - retrieved by police from Mr Tay's computer - was from June 16 to 30, 2003.

It took place about two months before Mr Tay and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, were found murdered in the Sydney apartment they shared with Tiwary. Both men were violently bludgeoned and stabbed in the neck. Tiwary, 30, was originally sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders.

In a 2005 police statement, Ms Tan, then 28, said she had met Mr Tay in 1995 when the pair studied engineering together at Singapore Polytechnic. They lost touch after graduating two years later but began contacting each other again either via e-mail or ICQ in 2002.

In one of the messages, Mr Tay said to Ms Tan: 'Ranger paying my rent this month...so got couple of hundred dollars...What better way than to share my joy with you.'

Mr Tay, who was married, shipped a parcel of coffee to Ms Tan. Months before, he had also shipped a bouquet of flowers to her.
The prosecution argues that Tiwary committed the murders because of back rent, amounting to A$5,000, he allegedly owed Mr Tay.

Mr Dalton pointed out that Tiwary had told his friends that he had seen Mr Tay and Mr Tan speaking to an Asian girl outside their flat just two days before the murders. Tiwary said that was 'strange' of the two married men, because they were 'so straight'. Their friends said they were good students who rarely socialised.

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 22, 2009
A Defence Clutching at Straws
By Sujin Thomas

Ram Puneet Tiwary (left), 30, is accused of killing his Singaporean flatmates Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, on Sept 15, 2003. -- ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK


HE WAS already a married man. She, too, had a boyfriend at the time and is now married to him.

Their online relationship came under further scrutiny on Tuesday at the retrial of Ram Puneet Tiwary, 30, who is accused of killing his Singaporean flatmates Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, on Sept 15, 2003.

Tiwary's lawyer David Dalton suggested that Mr Tay may have had romantic links with a woman named Ms Jasmine Tan, whom he knew in Singapore.

On Monday, a New South Wales Supreme Court heard that Mr Tay and Ms Tan met in 1995 while both studied engineering at Singapore Polytechnic. They drifted apart after graduating two years later and reconnected again in 2002 either through e-mail or online chat application ICQ. Through ICQ, they talked almost every day.

Logs of their chats from June 16 to 30, 2003 - two months before the murders - were retrieved from Mr Tay's computer by police.

Mr Dalton also suggested that this could have caused a motive for someone to commit the murders.

No way, said the prosecution.

Crown prosecutor John Kiely said: 'I want to get away from any suggestion that on that day Ms Tan or her boyfriend had anything to do with the murders.'

He said that Australian immigration records showed that Ms Tan had never been to Australia while her then boyfriend last visited the country from Aug 7 to 18, 2002.

Why the series of ICQ chat messages was kept out of the previous trial in 2006 drew a blank from police officers on the stand.

Under cross-examination, Detective Senior Constable Frearson said that no enquiries were made into any connections Ms Tan or her husband may have had in Australia.

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 23, 2009
'Tiwary had motive'
By Sujin Thomas

Tiwary's motive had been his shortage of funds, back rent that his owed one of the dead men and the loss of his Singapore Armed Forces scholarship. --ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK

HE had the motive, opportunity, and capacity to commit the cold-blooded murders of his two Singaporean flatmates in 2003.

So said the prosecution in its closing address of the retrial of Ram Puneet Tiwary which is now - after nearly four weeks - in its final stages.

Crown prosecutor John Kiely took pains to lay out arguments to support his case that Tiwary had killed Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, on Sept 15, 2003.

Tiwary, 30, was the only one - aside from the dead men - who was known to have been in the apartment on the day of the murders, he said.

He explained to the 12-man jury that Tiwary's motive had been his shortage of funds, back rent that his owed one of the dead men and the loss of his Singapore Armed Forces scholarship.

The question as to who 'Andrew' was - who had been listed on notes about rent payment found in the apartment - was also raised. Mr Kiely said he was 'invented' by Tiwary to ensure that the rent was split four ways.

E-mail correspondence between Mr Tay and Mr Tan referred to him as Tiwary's friend who was supposed to have moved into the apartment. Tiwary maintained in police interviews that he does not know of such a person.

Mr Kiely also said that both Mr Tay and Mr Tan had no connections with 'undesirable people' who dabble with drugs and alcohol.

He even debunked any suggestion that the killings was the work of an underworld group. The court had earlier heard that Tiwary had proposed to a friend that a mafia group had hit the wrong house.

Getting fired up, Mr Kiely said: 'If it was a killing by an organised crime group, do you think it would be done in the unit with weapons left behind?'

Nothing more than 'a bit of chit-chat'

THE spicy online chat log between murdered man Mr Tay Chow Lyang and his former schoolmate Ms Jasmine Tan was dismissed by the prosecution as being nothing more than 'a bit of chit-chat'.

On Wednesday, Crown prosecutor John Kiely said the suggestion that their relationship could have caused the murders was like 'stretching a long bow'.

Mr Kiely said: 'They might have been good mates but they never got into bed. It would be stretching a long bow to suggest that Mr Poh (Ms Tan's then boyfriend) might have seen those messages.'

On Monday, Tiwary's lawyer Senior Counsel Mr David Dalton tendered 22 pages of online ICQ chat messages painting romantic links between the pair. He had suggested that this may have been motive for the murders.

Police officers on the stand looked stumped when asked by Mr Dalton if they had enquired about any connections Ms Tan and her then boyfriend may have had with anyone in Australia.

'If someone would have been murdered for having a chat, you'd have half of Sydney bludgeoned to death,' added Mr Kiely with a trail of guffaws echoing through the court room.

He also reiterated that Ms Tan and her then boyfriend were in Singapore at the time of the murders even if there was a any 'ramping up' between her and Mr Tay.

Mr Kiely told the jury: 'You can put aside any suggestion that it was Jasmine or Poh.'

See? I told you they would try to rope in the Triads!
If you give them space, they'll bring samurai swords into the picture.
You mean Red Beret no class?

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 24, 2009
Tiwary had 'motive, opportunity'
Prosecutor also debunks notion that crime was linked to 'mafia group'
By Sujin Thomas

HE had the motive, opportunity and capacity to commit the cold-blooded murders of his two Singaporean flatmates in 2003.

So said the prosecution in its closing address during the retrial of Ram Puneet Tiwary which is now - after nearly four weeks - in its final stages. Tiwary is accused of killing Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, on Sept 15, 2003.

Crown Prosecutor John Kiely noted that Tiwary, 30, was the only one - aside from the dead men - known to have been in the apartment on the day of the murders. He argued that Tiwary's motive had been a shortage of funds, back rent that he owed Mr Tay and the loss of his Singapore Armed Forces scholarship.

Mr Kiely told the 12-person jury that both Mr Tay and Mr Tan had no connections with 'undesirable people' who dabbled in drugs and alcohol. He said: 'There were no drugs, no cannabis, no alcohol even. Nothing was detected.'

He debunked any suggestion that the killings were the doings of an underworld group, which the court heard that Tiwary had proposed to a friend, saying that a mafia group had hit the wrong house. Getting fired up, Mr Kiely said: 'If it was a killing by an organised crime group, do you think it would be done in the unit with weapons left behind?'

As to the mysterious car which was said to have picked up Mr Tan after a lecture minutes before he was murdered, Mr Kiely said witness accounts were 'flagrantly different'. One witness, Mr Jonathan Choy, described the car to be an older, white car with two Asians inside. Another student, Mr Sean Murray, said it was a more recent blue model with three occupants.

Mr Kiely said: 'There is not the slightest suggestion that Mr Tan had any fear of those people in the car. There was no compulsion by him to go near the car unless he wanted to.' They may not have come forward because they did not want to get involved or were illegals, he said.

Mr Kiely pointed out that Tiwary had the opportunity to commit the crimes as he claimed to have slept through the attacks, and woken up to find his flatmates dead. There were no signs of a robbery or forced entry into the apartment.

The prosecutor claimed that Tiwary had killed Mr Tay after Mr Tan had left for a lecture at the university. Mr Kiely said: 'There was no way he could take on both of them at the same time. So he split them up and took them on one at a time.'

Mr Tan was attacked when he returned home about two hours later. Mr Kiely said: 'What's a killer doing for two hours in the unit and not checking Tiwary's room? You think he'd be sitting outside watching TV and hoping that Ram Tiwary doesn't catch him?'

Last pitch from the Defence today before the Judge directs his Jury

Channel News Asia - Thursday, September 24

SYDNEY: The prosecution has begun its summing up in the trial of Singaporean student Ram Tiwary who is charged with murdering his two flatmates in Sydney, Australia in 2003.

The prosecution spent most of Wednesday explaining to the jury why they should convict Tiwary of bludgeoning to death Tony Tan Poh Chuan and Tay Chow Lyang in the apartment they all shared.

Crown prosecutor John Kiely claimed the defendant had the motive, the opportunity and the capacity to kill the two men.

Tiwary was badly behind with his rent, and Tay was putting pressure on him to pay up.

Apart from financial problems, Tiwary's student life was also falling apart.

He had lodged false exam papers and had not paid the University of New South Wales for his first semester of the year, despite receiving the money from the Singapore army, which was sponsoring him.

Two days before the killings, Tiwary bought the baseball bat, which was used to beat his flatmates to death.

But he knew he could not take on both men at the same time.

So he waited for Tan to leave the flat in order to take Tay by surprise while he was sitting at his computer.

He clubbed him over the head and then waited two hours for Tan to return from the university.

He then attacked the second man, who tried to escape but was overcome by the savagery of the blows, Mr Kiely asserted.

To make sure both were dead, Tiwary stabbed his two flatmates in the neck, the prosecution alleged.

The jury was also reminded how composed the defendant was when he was interviewed by police only a couple of hours after the murders.

He was surprisingly calm in view of what he had just seen.

Yet there were giveaways in the emergency call he made shortly after the killings.

He told the operator his two friends were dead. But how did he know, the prosecutor asked.

The defence is due to begin its final submission on Thursday.

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 24, 2009
Ranger cannot act, kenna captured by enemy how?
By Sujin Thomas

Ram Puneet Tiwary's (left) lawyer gave a dramatic performance, calling his client's '000' call to the Australian emergency services: The 'black box' recording of the case. --ST PHOTO: PETER MORRIS

SUMMING up for the defence, Ram Puneet Tiwary's lawyer gave a dramatic performance, calling his client's '000' call to the Australian emergency services: The 'black box' recording of the case.

After playing the seven-minute audio recording in a New South Wales Supreme Court, Senior Counsel David Dalton told the jury: 'Is that acting? It doesn't matter what I think. It just makes me angry.'

'What's gone on in the investigations? This is the real thing. This tape demonstrates - I can't even believe I'm saying it - that he is innocent.'

The fiery start to his closing address came minutes after Crown prosecutor John Kiely finished presenting his arguments on Thursday morning.

Tiwary is accused of killing his two Singaporean flatmates Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, in the Barker Street apartment they shared. All three were students at the nearby University of New South Wales when the murders occured on September 15, 2003.

In the '000' call, made at about 2.20pm that day, Tiwary stuttered and breathed heavily as he explained to the operator what he had seen.

When his call was transferred to another operator, he is heard shouting expletives.

Mr Dalton said: 'You'll pick up his demeanour and how anxious he is particularly when he is transferred. He doesn't know what's going on.'

Later in the call, the operator asked Tiwary if his flatmates are unconscious. He replied: 'There's blood all over. I can't even tell.'

Tiwary then told the operator that he was not stepping outside room while mumbling: 'I should've checked. I didn't.'

Mr Dalton said: 'He realised it was inappropriate of him not to do that. He reflected upon it and then went out.'

Channel News Asia - Friday, September 25

Judge summing up today

SYDNEY : In Australia, the New South Wales Supreme Court has been told that the case against Ram Tiwary is based on a flawed investigation.

The Singaporean is accused of killing his two flatmates.

In summing up the case for the defence, Tiwary’s lawyer David Dalton claimed there had been a litany of mistakes in the police investigation.

The video of Tiwary’s arrival at the police station on the day of the murder had been lost.

In addition, there was no sign of Tay Chow Lyang’s blood on the baseball bat or knife allegedly used to kill him, which suggested there might have been another weapon. The defence asked where was that weapon.

The defence also brought up the emergency phone call Tiwary made to the ambulance service. Mr Dalton said that the recorded conversation, which was played to the jury, proved that the defendant was not acting.

The defence lawyer added: "Just listen to Tiwary breathing if you think he is acting.

"The tape demonstrates his innocence as clear as day."

Mr Dalton suggested that if Tiwary had not gone back to the flat to check if the victims were breathing — as asked by the emergency operator — the defendant probably would not have been there.

The defence also ruled out debt being a motive for the murder.

The defence concluded that even if he had owed money, it would not have caused a young man of Tiwary’s character to commit such a crime.

Tiwary, who was on a scholarship to the University of New South Wales provided by the Singapore Army, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his flatmates Tony Tan Poh Chuan and Tay Chow Lyang in September 2003.

The judge is expected to begin his summing up on Friday, with the jury likely to be sent out to consider their verdict on Monday.

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 25, 2009
'CSI not thorough woh!'
By Sujin Thomas

RAM Puneet Tiwary's lawyer told the jury of 'flawed police investigations' in which forensic officers failed to check for saliva in the blood found on his client.

Earlier in the retrial, forensic biologist Virginia Friedman had said that blood could be tested for saliva.

But that was not done in this case.

Senior Counsel David Dalton said: 'The police did not have the forensic lab check for saliva in the blood. It was just another mistake, was it?'

In explaining to police how he ended up with blood on his hands and feet, Tiwary had said that his flatmate Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, had coughed up blood onto him when he checked him for signs of life.

Mr Dalton continued with the closing address he began on Thursday with a fiery start.

Tiwary, 30, is accused to brutally bludgeoning and stabbing his Singaporean flatmates Mr Tan and Mr Tay Chow Lyang in the Sydney apartment they shared on Sept 15, 2003. All three were students at the nearby University of New South Wales.

Mr Dalton also touched on the testimonies of three medical experts who had taken the stand, reading through lengthy transcripts of their cross-examination.

All but one had said that Mr Tan could have coughed blood even if he was not breathing or was unconscious.

Forensic pathologist Johan DuFlou said that it was not possible for Mr Tan to have coughed up blood in Tiwary's first trial in 2006.

On the stand this time round, he conceded that it was a possibilty.

Channel News Asia - Friday, September 25

Judge now expected to sum up Monday

SYDNEY: The jury in the trial of Singaporean Ram Tiwary has been urged to acquit him. Summing up, the defence on Friday accused police of failing to keep an open mind in their investigation of the murder of Tiwary's two flatmates six years ago.

It was September 2003 when the bodies of Tony Tan Poh Chuan and Tay Chow Lyang were found in their apartment, close to the University of New South Wales. Both had been clubbed to death with a baseball bat.

News of the horrific murders shocked fellow students at the university, which is attended by thousands of overseas students, many of them from Asia.

Six months later, Ram Tiwary, who was on a scholarship from the Singapore army, was charged with their murder. Although he was later convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, he won an appeal.

The re-trial, which began about four weeks ago at the New South Wales Supreme Court, heard how Tiwary, who is now 30, had told police he was asleep in the flat at the time of the murders.

But his story was at odds with the account he gave his friends who were told he came home to find the blood-soaked bodies of his two flatmates.

The defendant explained that he had lied because he was too ashamed to admit he had not gone to the aid of his dead friends. He also claimed the blood that was found on his feet and clothing must have got there when he checked Tan's pulse and the victim coughed up blood.

Crown Prosecutor John Kiely said Tiwary had the motive, the opportunity and the capacity to kill the two men. He was badly behind with his rent and his student life was falling apart.

But there were also claims that there had been a litany of mistakes in the police investigation.

The judge is expected to begin his summing up on Monday. Tiwary's family members, who have spent much of the past month in Sydney supporting him, should find out next week whether he will walk free or spend much of the rest of his life behind bars.

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 28, 2009
Defence, in closing, says no back rent woh
By Sujin Thomas

Senior Counsel David Dalton (left) raised doubt on the interpretation of a police fraud expert of a note found in Tiwary's room, saying that someone giving evidence in a case like this should be very careful in presenting it.

SYDNEY - IN CLOSING his case on Monday, Ram Puneet Tiwary's lawyer challenged the prosecution's notion of back rent as the motive for murder.

Dismissing it, Senior Counsel David Dalton raised doubt on the interpretation of a police fraud expert of a note found in Tiwary's room. He said: 'Someone giving evidence in a case like this should be very careful in presenting it.'

Earlier in the trial, Mr John Fogarty, a trained accountant, took to the stand saying that a handwritten note found in Tiwary's room reflected money he owed his flatmate.

Tiwary, 30, is accused of killing his two Singaporean flatmates, Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan in the apartment they shared on Sept 15, 2003.

In the note, believed to be written by Mr Tay, a series of figures totalling A$5,045 (S$6,190) is reflected next to Tiwary's name. The prosecution had submitted that Tiwary committed the murders as he could not afford to pay Mr Tay the amount.

The arrears went as far back as December 2002 - when Tiwary first moved into the Barker Street flat. Tiwary has maintained in police interviews that the sum had already been paid to Mr Tay.

Mr Dalton said: 'If it was a debt, that would mean Mr Tay carried Mr Tiwary's rent all the way from when he moved in. Why would he do that?'

If it were indeed true, Mr Dalton said that Mr Tay never complained about it to anyone, including his wife. Instead, he made an issue of a previous flatmate's outstanding debt of A$176 in utility bills.

Another handwritten document found in the house reflected a sum of A$1,148 owed to Mr Tay by Tiwary.

Last week, the prosecution closed by telling the jury that Tiwary was the only person, aside from the dead men, known to have been in the house at the time of the murders.

Tiwary had told police that he was asleep and woke up when he heard a commotion outside. There were no signs of a robbery or forced entry into the apartment.

Crown prosecutor Mr John Kiely suggested that Tiwary had killed Mr Tay after Mr Tan had left for a lecture at the university. Mr Kiely said that Tiwary had fabricated his account of what happened when questioned by police.

Circumstantial evidence? Or would you prefer the possibility of lightning hitting the same spot twice?

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Sep 29, 2009
Prosecution's case built 'wholly on circumstantial evidence'
By Sujin Thomas

Tiwary (left) is accused of killing his two Singaporean flatmates Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, in the apartment they shared on Sept 15, 2003. --ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK

SYDNEY - OVER four hours on Tuesday, the judge in the retrial of Ram Puneet Tiwary took pains to explain to the jury where their focus should lie in arriving at a verdict.

Justice Peter Johnson honed in on this key point: The prosecution has to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt for Tiwary to be found guilty.

He said: 'Guesswork or strong suspicions are not enough. The real issue is whether he was the one who committed the murders.'

The jury will be expected to return separate verdicts on the two murder charges against Tiwary.

As Justice Johnson spoke, the 12-member jury listened attentively, taking notes and passing glances at Tiwary who sat alone in the dock directly across from them.

Tiwary is accused of killing his two Singaporean flatmates Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, in the apartment they shared on Sept 15, 2003. All three were studying at the University of New South Wales.

The judge also told the jury to rid their minds of any prejudice. 'You must put emotions entirely out of your mind. Approach your task in a dispassionate way without emotion and sympathy,' he said.

He spent time explaining that the prosecution's case relies 'wholly on circumstantial evidence'.

He also touched on the arguments laid out by both sides of the bar table, stressing that the prosecution had no obligation to prove a motive in a criminal trial.

The prosecution claims that Tiwary killed his flatmates over back rent of about A$5,045.

However, motive is an 'issue' in this trial, and it is relevant for the jury to consider in its decision, he said.

Justice Johnson also said that Tiwary is not obligated to give evidence in the trial as he bears no onus of proof.

He said: 'The silence of the accused may not be used against him. You must not speculate what might have been said in evidence if the accused had given it.'

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Oct 2, 2009
Tiwary trial in Sydney
Jury given until Tuesday to reach unanimous decision on whether lightning can strike the same spot twice within a matter of 2 hours
By Sujin Thomas

After 14 hours of deliberation, the jury of the retrial of Ram Puneet Tiwary (left) has still not reached a unanimous verdict. --ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK

AFTER 14 hours of deliberation, the jury of the retrial of Ram Puneet Tiwary has still not reached a unanimous verdict.

On Friday, the judge proposed coming to a majority verdict instead, in which 11 out of the 12 jurors must reach the same decision.

A majority verdict, which can be ordered only after eight hours of jury deliberation, minimizes the possibility of a hung jury.

Both sides of the bar table instead urged Justice Peter Johnson to give the jury more time. A unanimous verdict is ideal as a majority verdict

Crown prosecutor Mr John Kiely said: 'They should have all the time to consider all the evidence. An order for a majority verdict might put them in a position to rush.'

Tiwary is accused of killing his Singaporean flatmates Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, in the apartment they shared on Sept 15, 2003. He faces two murder charges, each carrying a life imprisonment penalty.

Justice Johnson told the New South Wales Supreme Court that he will order a majority verdict if the jury is unlikely to reach a unanimous decision by Tuesday.

The court will not sit on Monday as it is a public holiday in Sydney.

On Thursday afternoon, the jury sent a note to the judge saying: 'Can you please give us some direction to relieve this deadlock?'

No mention was made in court of how many jurors could not agree.

Justice Johnson then ordered a 'Black' direction, which in Australia, is an order for the jury to talk it over before considering their vote if there is a minority holding out.

He said: 'It is often that juries are able to agree in the end if they are given more time to examine the evidence.'

Among the evidence, the jury will have to look into the statements and testimonies of over 50 witnesses, as well as about eight hours of video and audio recordings.

Now just what did Lee Kuan Yew say about Jury Trial v Bench Trial?

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Oct 6, 2009
Majority decision finds Tiwary still guilty of double murder
By Sujin Thomas

Tiwary faces a penalty of life imprisonment on each of the two murder charges. -- ST PHOTO: PETER MORRIS

THE jury in the retrial of Ram Puneet Tiwary on Tuesday found him guilty by a majority verdict after failing to reach a unanimous decision.

Sentencing is set for Nov 13. Tiwary's lawyers gave immediate notice of appeal.

Tiwary, 29, is accused of killing his Singaporean flatmates Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, who were violently bludgeoned and stabbed in the apartment they shared on Sept 15, 2003. He faces a penalty of life imprisonment on each of the two murder charges.

Justice Peter Johnson told the court last week he would order a majority verdict if the jury was unlikely to reach a unanimous decision by Tuesday. This would remove the inconvenience of a hung jury or retrial.

The 12-man jury has been deliberating for more than 17 hours since last Tuesday afternoon before reaching a verdict. A majority verdict can be ordered if the jury cannot come to a decision after having deliberated for at least eight hours. Under such a verdict, a decision can be made if 11 jurors reach a common verdict.

Last Thursday, a note handed to Justice Johnson read: 'Can you please give us some direction to relieve this deadlock.'

Today being World Kindness Day, Friday the 13th some more etc etc, sentencing also postponed for Ram Puneet Tiwary to December 17.

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Nov 13, 2009
Crown prosecutor 29 page written submission pushes for life imprisonment
By Sujin Thomas

THE lawyer of convicted killer Ram Puneet Tiwary did little to mitigate his client's position in a New South Wales Supreme Court on Friday morning.

Senior Counsel David Dalton did not make any submissions on sentence, but said that his client 'maintains his innocence'.

Recounting what he had said during the half-hour hearing, Mr Dalton told The Straits Times: 'Mr Tiwary believes that whoever committed the offence deserves the most serious of punishments.'

The hearing was expected to go on for a day.

Tiwary, 30, was convicted on Oct 6 after a 26-day retrial of murdering his two Singaporean Mr Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Mr Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, in the flat they shared on September 15, 2003.

In contrast, Crown prosecutor Mr John Kiely made a 29-page written submission to the court pushing for the maximum sentence for murder, which is life imprisonment.

Tiwary will be sentenced on Dec 17.

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story

Dec 17, 2009
Tiwary jailed 48 years

Tiwary was arrested for the double murder in May 2004. -- PHOTO: RICK STEVENS FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Convicted murderer Ram Puneet Tiwary was jailed a total of 48 years in a New South Supreme Court on Thursday for the murders of his two Singaporean flatmates in 2003.

Tiwary, 30, was convicted on Oct 6 of murdering Singaporeans Tay Chow Lyang, 26, and Tony Tan Poh Chuan, 27, in the flat they shared on Sept 15, 2003.

During the hearing in a Sydney court which lasted an hour, Justice Peter Johnson passed a sentence of 25 years' jail for Tay's murder and 30 years' jail - with no parole - for Tan's murder.

He ordered the heftier sentence to commence only in 2012. This means that Tiwary will only be released in 2042.

During the retrial which ended in October, the court heard accounts of what Tiwary told police on the day that Mr Tay and Mr Tan were found murdered in their flat. He said that he had been asleep in his bedroom and woke up when he heard a commotion outside.

He emerged and found both his flatmates dead, covered in blood. Both men had been bludgeoned with a softball bat and stabbed multiple times in the neck. All three had been studying at the University of New South Wales. Tiwary was arrested for the double murder in May 2004.

Remember what I said about lightning not hitting the same spot twice in a matter of hours or days, or I'd have won Lotto America?

Is Australian Justice so much better or what despite the Jury Trial system they have? They have kangaroos in the outback, but they haven't been allowed into the Courtroom.

In comparison, the sentence by the Singapore Court Bench Trial system of the double murder by Michael McCrea leaves much to be desired....

Singapore News

Ram Tiwary sentenced to maximum of 48 years in jail
By Roger Maynard, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 17 December 2009 1259 hrs

SYDNEY: Singaporean student Ram Tiwary, found guilty of murdering two of his flatmates in Australia, has been sentenced to a maximum of 48 years in jail.

He was given 25 years for the murder of Tay Chow Lyang and 30 years for the death of Tony Tan Poh Chuan. The latter sentence will start from 2012.

With parole and time already served, the earliest Tiwary can expect to be released is 2042.

It was the climax to a murder investigation which began more than six years ago when the bodies of Singaporean students Tony Tan Poh Chuan and Tay Chow Lyang were found in the apartment they shared with Tiwary.

Both young men had been clubbed to death with a baseball bat. The horrific nature of the killings sent shock waves through the nearby University of New South Wales, where many of the students were also Asian.

Initially, there were fears the murders were racially motivated. But eight months later in a surprise breakthrough, police charged their flatmate Tiwary with their deaths.

Then 23, Tiwary was on a scholarship awarded to him by the Singapore Armed Forces. Tiwary protested his innocence, but was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.

However, an appeal court later ordered a re-trial on the grounds that the judge had misdirected the jury.

The second trial, which lasted 26 days, again found Tiwary guilty. On Thursday, he was told he could expect to spend the next 33 years of his life behind bars.

The judge said both murders were violent and savage, which elevated the gravity of the crime. In the case of Tan, the second victim, the judge said it was not a spontaneous attack but rather, an execution to prevent him from giving evidence against the offender.

The prosecution earlier claimed that Tiwary had the "motive, opportunity and capacity" to carry out the murders. The fact that he also owed Tay several thousand dollars in back rent might also have provided a motive.

Tiwary's relatives, who earlier admitted they were still "terribly distraught", were not in court on Thursday. Relatives of the dead men were also not present.

However, the convicted Singaporean is unlikely to let things rest. His defence team would not confirm whether he is likely to appeal, but Tiwary's courtroom demeanour suggested he was unmoved by the length of his sentence. He offered no response before or after the sentence was handed down.

- CNA/yb

So the punishment he received for Tay’s murder remained unchanged — a concurrent 25 years’ jail term.

For killing Tan, Tiwary was jailed 40 years, compared to life imprisonment without parole — the punishment he received in the 2006 trial.

The New South Wales Supreme Court ordered that the shorter jail term be backdated to 2004 when Tiwary was arrested and charged.

It also ordered that the longer jail sentence start only in 2012.

That means he will be jailed at least 38 years before he is eligible for parole; otherwise he could spend up to a maximum of 48 years behind bars.

He could have been jailed for life on each of the charges.

In sending him to a Sydney jail yesterday, Justice Peter Johnson said he was not convinced that the maximum sentence of life imprisonment should be imposed for Tan’s murder.

Under the New South Wales Crimes Act, a convict sentenced to life imprisonment will spend his whole life behind bars.

Justice Johnson said: “The objective seriousness of this crime lies well above the middle of the range of objective seriousness. It lies close to, but not at the point where a life sentence ought be imposed.”

He said that he acknowledged the “dreadful sense of loss” by the families of the two men who were months away from completing their university studies.

“Instead, they were both cut down and beaten to death in savage murders which on evidence before the court, could not relate in any way to the conduct of either of them,” he added.

Justice Johnson said: “The offender has shown no contrition or remorse for either crime.”

Tiwary will be filing an appeal against the conviction through his lawyer, Senior Counsel David Dalton.

Tiwary’s cousin, Ramesh Tiwary, told The Straits Times: “We believe that he is innocent and that the evidence shows that he is innocent.”

“The jury’s decision was against the weight of this evidence.”


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