Iskandar Rahmat fatally stabbed a father and his son, but it was done in self-defence, the accused double murderer's lawyer argued in Singapore's High Court on Friday (Oct 30).
Iskandar, 33,was unarmed and had only intended to make away with some valuables on Jul 10, 2013, his lawyer said. The fatal stabbings of Tan Boon Sin and his son Tan Chee Heong occurred in self-defence, and the former police officer did not know that the body of the younger Tan was trapped under his car when he made his getaway, the lawyer argued.
"He does not deny the stab wounds resulted from his actions but he denies he did it (with the intention of murder)," said lawyer Shashi Nathan before a packed courtroom, with Iskandar in the dock wearing a beige prison jumpsuit and accompanied by two armed police officers.
"His primary defence is that he reacted in such a manner in his right of self-defence.
"In all statements recorded from Iskandar, he has consistently maintained that his only intention was to deceive Tan Boon Sin into retrieving his valuables from his safe deposit box. Iskandar maintains he was unarmed."
Mr Nathan also said that Iskandar was unaware that Tan Chee Heong was trapped under the car, adding: "In a state of shock, panic and confusion, Iskandar was left with no other option but to flee from Singapore for good."
Iskandar - the only witness called by the defence - was a dedicated police officer who resorted to criminal means to pay off his debt, the lawyer contended, but the "poorly-conceived plan" came to a disastrous end.
"The accused had dedicated himself as a police officer for 14 years, and rose through the ranks to become a commended investigation officer," said the lawyer, noting more than 20 awards and commendations as well as a sponsorship to complete his diploma that Iskandar had received.
But driven by debts that arose out of divorce and escalating interest for his car loan, by July Iskandar faced bankruptcy proceedings. He was relieved of his investigation duties and barred from carrying firearms due to being financially embarrassed, and owed a bank more than S$60,000.
"Iskandar stands before this court charged with murder becsuse this poorly-conceived plan went wrong," said Mr Nathan. "He was driven by desperation."
If convicted, Iskandar faces the death penalty. The trial continues.