Lawyers in shock after Datin who abused maid escapes jail
KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyers have expressed shock after the Sessions Court sentenced a “Datin” who abused her maid to a good behaviour bond, saying the offence is a serious crime under the Penal Code.
Ramkarpal Singh said the Sessions Court erred in meting out the sentencing to Rozita Mohamed Ali who assaulted Suyanti Sutrinso.
“The law no longer provides for a good behavior bond in cases which involve serious offences, defined in the Penal Code as an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term of ten years or more,” said Ramkarpal.
He said Section 326 under which Rozita was charged provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years, and comes within the definition of “serious offence”.
A video of Suyanti seriously injured and lying near a drain in a housing area in Mutiara Damansara had gone viral in December 2016.
It was then reported that Rozita had allegedly used a kitchen knife, a clothes hanger, a steel mop and an umbrella to cause multiple injuries to Suyanti’s head, hands, legs and internal organs.
Rozita was initially charged with attempted murder. She was later charged under Section 326 for voluntarily causing grievous hurt.
The housewife was bound over for five years on a good behaviour bond of RM20,000 by judge Mohammed Mokhzani Mokhtar after she changed her plea and pleaded guilty to causing grievous hurt.
Ramkarpal said amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code in 2016 expressly excluded the option of binding over a convicted person on a good behaviour bond under Sections 173A and 294 when the person was charged with a serious offence.
“The said amendments also do not expressly apply retrospectively and as such, were in force and applicable when Rozita was sentenced. In the circumstances, it is clear that the learned Sessions Court judge acted out of jurisdiction in imposing the said sentence on Rozita as the said Sections 173A and 294 of the CPC no longer allowed him to do so,” he said.
He said the High Court should revise the decision “immediately in the interests of justice”, adding that the High Court could do so even without an application by any party.
Meanwhile, prominent rights lawyer Eric Paulsen questioned the court’s decision despite hearing 10 witnesses including the victim and doctors who treated her.
“We are unable to see what extenuating circumstances could have made Rozita deserving to be bound over for such a serious offence, when she had caused multiple injuries to the victim’s hands, head, legs, and internal organs.”
He added that it was a matter of public interest that such offences must be treated seriously by the administration of justice.
“For such a serious offence to go unpunished is an outrage of justice, especially when viewed in the context of the multiple cases of abuse that have happened in Malaysia.”
Paulsen said past crimes against domestic workers, including the recent case of Adelina Lisao who died from injuries suffered at the hands of her employer last month, should be “etched into our public memory as a mark of shame”.
But he said the sentence against Rozita sent out the wrong message to suggest that it was all right to treat domestic workers inhumanely “if you are affluent or well-connected”.
“We call upon the attorney-general to appeal the decision of the Sessions Court, and to seek a more proportionate sentence for the heinous crime that Rozita has admitted to,” said Paulsen, who heads Lawyers for Liberty.
Now those who are well-connected, those influential, those in power can get away with wicked, criminal deeds. This did not happen during Mahathir reign, even high profile, Umno politician was charged and imprisoned - Mohktar case 20+ years ago, (I think). he AG have to do something. Zahid was saying he was putting deterrent laws to prevent these abuses after the maid died recently. Well now it up to the Indons to voice out against M'sian 'justice'.