ALOR STAR: Justice was served for the family of raped and murdered marketing executive Chee Gaik Yap, after a long wait of more than nine years. Today, the High Court here sentenced businessman Shahril Jaafar, 34, to death for murdering her in 2006. In handing down judgment and the sentence in a courtroom packed with Chee’s family and friends, Judicial Commissioner Datuk Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab said he found Shahril guilty as his defence had failed to raise any reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s prima facie case. Chee was out jogging with her younger sister at the Cinta Sayang Club in Taman Ria Jaya, Sungai Petani, when she was abducted on Jan 14, 2006. Her semi-nude body was found in a bush near the jogging track about nine hours later on Jan 15, 2006. Shahril, the son of a meteorite and opal businessman with a “Datuk” title, was charged with the murder of then 25-year-old Chee, near the club between 5.30pm on Jan 14 and 3.05am, on Jan 15, 2006. Shahril had been picked up soon after Chee’s body was found, but was released on police bail pending the results of a DNA test. He, however, skipped bail and left for Perth, Australia, where he subsequently obtained permanent resident status. He was only re-arrested six years later when he arrived at the KL International Airport from Perth on Jan 17, 2012. He was charged two weeks later and tried, but was acquitted without his defence being called on June 25, 2013 when the High Court ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case. The court’s decision led the victim’s father, Chee Ah Sau, who had relentlessly sought justice for her death, to attempt jumping off the balcony of the court complex, but was prevented from doing so by pressmen. On appeal by the prosecution, the Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal and ordered that Shahril enter his defence for the crime. After Shahril was found guilty today by Mohd Zaki, his lawyer Shamsul Sulaiman said his client is remorseful and sympathised with what the Chee family had gone through and expressed hope that they can continue with their lives. Sulaiman told the court the man before them is no longer the same man in 2006, adding that Shahril had matured through his experiences. “The problem stemmed from drug abuse and he (Shahril) hopes others can learn from his experience,” Sulaiman said. The case was prosecuted by Kedah prosecution unit head Salim Soib. Later, Ah Sau, 59, said his family is still not satisfied as Shahril still has avenues of appeal. “I guess we still have to wait some more,” he said when commenting on the family’s nine-year wait for justice.