KUALA LUMPUR: A man who caused the death of his 87-year-old father by strangling him with a belt was sentenced to four years' jail for manslaughter.
In passing the sentence, High Court Judicial Commissioner Zainal Azman Aziz took into consideration that the 52-year-old accused Eric De Cruz, who caused the death of his father J. Ben De Cruz, was suffering from severe depression.
He also considered the fact that the deceased was not an easy man to live with.
"This case stands on its own in that it is different from all the case authorities cited by both the prosecution and defence.
"I believe the accused will be haunted by the memory of killing his own father forever and this will be more severe than any sentence that this court can pass. I believe this is punishment enough," the judge said.
Zainal Azman, who ordered the accused to serve his sentence from the date of his arrest on May 23 last year, also said he must be given counselling, guidance as well as the necessary medication while in prison.
Eric, who initially faced the death penalty after being charged with the murder of his elderly father Ben on May 23 between 6.30am and 9.30am at their home in Taman Tun Dr Ismail here, earlier pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter.
According to the facts, an Indonesian worker who was doing renovation work at a neighbour's apartment was summoned by the accused into the bedroom that morning.
Upon seeing the elderly man lying on the floor with strangulation marks on his neck, the foreigner alerted a security guard.
Eric subsequently told them that he caused the death of his father, a retired a chief clerk.
Counsel Datuk K. Kumaraendran, in mitigation, said his client and the deceased had a misunderstanding the day before the incident.
On the day of the incident, the lawyer said Ben had scolded and berated Eric for no apparent reason, saying he was useless, could not hold on to any job and that he was lazing around the house doing nothing.
At the spur of the moment, the accused lost control and strangled his father. Upon realising that the elderly man was not moving, he immediately alerted the Indonesian worker.
Kumaraendran said Eric, who had worked as an executive with an advertisement company, had taken it upon himself as a dutiful son to take his father in and look after him when none of his four sisters were willing to do so as they were unable to get along with him.
The lawyer said his client did this because of he had promised to do so to his mother, who resides in a nursing home as she suffered from senile dementia.
"The deceased was not the easiest man to live with. He was authoritarian in nature, especially towards his children.
"Although Eric felt strongly about his father leaving the family when he was young, he still made sure his father had a place to stay when he retired by taking him in," he said, adding that his client's strained relationship with his wife and pressure at work contributed to his depression.
Kumaraendran also urged the court to take into consideration the medical reports by Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta and Penang Adventist Hospital that found his client to be suffering from "major depressive disorder."
@ Four years for strangling dad to death