Man convicted of murdering girlfriend’s 9-month-old son in Yishun, faces death or life sentence
- A 29-year-old man contested a capital murder charge in the High Court and was convicted on Wednesday
- A judge found that Mohamed Aliff Mohamed Yusoff had pushed his girlfriend’s baby son’s head against his van floorboard
- The boy died from a traumatic intracranial haemorrhage, consistent with blunt force trauma
- Mohamed Aliff had alleged that the child died after accidentally falling from his arms
SINGAPORE — A 29-year-old man was found guilty of murder on Wednesday (July 13) after a High Court judge rejected his claims that his girlfriend’s infant son had struck his head after falling from the man's arms.
Mohamed Aliff Mohamed Yusoff, who contested the capital charge, now faces either the death penalty or life imprisonment with caning.
His lawyer told the court he understands that the prosecution is not seeking the death sentence. Aliff has not been sentenced yet and will return to court on an undetermined date.
On Wednesday, Justice Mavis Chionh found that Aliff deliberately pushed nine-month-old Izz Fayyaz Zayani Ahmad’s head against the floorboard of his van at least twice on the night of Nov 7, 2019.
The prosecution's case is that Aliff did this out of frustration because the infant was crying.
The boy had also accidentally spilled his mother’s drink during dinner earlier, prompting an argument between the couple about how to discipline him.
The judge told the court that Aliff was a “glib and disingenuous witness” who could not stick to a consistent version of events.
In his statements to the police, he vacillated between claiming that he pushed the boy’s head against the floorboard and that Izz accidentally hit his head.
However, Justice Chionh noted that the first version of events was consistent with and corroborated by the autopsy findings.
Izz’s cause of death was a traumatic intracranial haemorrhage, which was consistent with blunt force trauma being inflicted on the boy’s head and face.
Aliff had alleged that Izz struggled and fell out of his arms, hit his head on the van floorboard and bounced before falling onto the floor at the multi-storey car park of Block 840A Yishun Street 81.
He later met Izz's mother, Ms Nadiah Abdul Jalil, around midnight. They drove aimlessly in the area before she turned around from the front passenger seat and found her child lying face-up at the back of the van.
Aliff then suggested that they pay someone to bury the boy and report him as missing a year later but Ms Nadiah refused to do so.
He then delayed the efforts by Izz’s mother to take the infant to the National University Hospital’s accident and emergency department, the judge pointed out.
It took 36 minutes for them to get there after reaching the hospital’s car park. Aliff cleaned himself and brushed his teeth, due to his fear of being arrested and remanded in prison over Izz’s death, and also made a detour to discard his mobile phone in some bushes.
This conduct was “strikingly consistent with someone labouring under the guilty knowledge that Izz died by his hand and fearful of being found out”, Justice Chionh said.
“This was not the behaviour of someone anxious to get Izz’s injuries treated when he hurt himself in an accidental fall.”
The judge pointed out that the head is a vulnerable part of the body, especially when one “considers the force in question being applied by the accused, a full-grown man, to a nine-month-old child measuring only 71cm in height and weighing only 7.3kg at the time of his death”.
“The only logical inference to be drawn is he intended to cause head injuries to Izz by pushing his head against the floorboard,” Justice Chionh said.
She added that due to Aliff’s lies, his sister’s good character evidence, which focused on his love for children, did not help him in any way.
The judge further found that Ms Nadiah, who also testified during the trial, was a credible witness and had told the truth.
Justice Chionh rejected Aliff’s “entirely baseless” claims that Ms Nadiah gave false evidence because an investigation officer had threatened her when he was remanded.
An Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist had found that Aliff was not of unsound mind at the time, and does not have any mental disorder or intellectual disability.
He is represented by defence counsels Ramachandran Shiever Subranamium, Kanagavijayan Nadarajan and Stephen Wong.