I read with disgust the decision by the Court of Appeal’s three-man panel led by Tan Sri Raus Sharif to substitute a rapist’s 5-year jail term with a bound over for good behaviour for five years. All because the appellant has a “bright future.”. The Appellant, Noor Afizal Azizan, 21, is a bowler whom had represented Negeri Sembilan and Malaysia in the National Youth Category for five years between 2004-2008, and is expected to represent Kedah in several up-coming tournaments. He was previously sentenced to five years jail by the High Court for raping a 13-year old girl in 2009.
Prior to the High Court sentence, the Sessions Court had bounded him over after considering several factors, including that there was a consensual sexual relationship between him and the girl. The Public Prosecutor successfully appealed to the High Court last year and obtained the five-year jail sentence.
Section 375(f) of the Malaysian Penal Code is clear on this matter:
A man is said to commit “rape” who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the following descriptions: with or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age
Therefore, I do not, and can never understand the logic behind the decision of both the Sessions Court (in the first hearing) and the Court of Appeal. As a matter of fact, under the explanation for Section 376B of the same Act, it is specifically mentioned that a person under sixteen years of age, if female, or under thirteen years of age, if male shall be deemed to be incapable of giving consent.
In fact, I would have thrown Section 377E at the Appellant for inciting a child to an act of gross indecency. The Section says that any person who incites a child under the age of fourteen years to any act of gross indecency with him or another person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to whipping.
What sickens me more is that the Appellate Judges agreed with counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik that public interest would not be served if the latter’s client was given a custodial sentence when he had a bright future.
If I recall correctly, Jamie Waylett, who played school,bully Vincent Crabbe in six of the Harry Potter films was jailed for two years for being part of a violent mob during the UK Riots of 2011. Jamal Abdillah, Ameng Spring, Saleem, all with bright future, yet jailed. Muhammad Ali, as Cassius Clay, was a heavyweight boxing champ when he was jailed for draft evasion. Tell me if his future wasn’t bright then.
In all honesty, I opine that the Appellate judges have made an erroneous judgment of public interest, and justice has definitely NOT been served.