| Fadley Faisal |
THE Bandar Seri Begawan Magistrate’s Court yesterday handed a jail term of six months and a fine of $1,000 or in default two months’ jail to 49-year-old Haji Harith bin Haji Bakir in the case of a corpse found under concrete at a house compound.
Senior Magistrate Muhammed Faisal considered the defendant’s guilty plea and observed being a first offender the fine was justifiable as opposed to a repeat offender.
The Senior Magistrate also said that the facts of the case are unique.
However, the defendant had shown remorse for hiding the body after she had passed away, the court thought.
The defendant’s state of panic failed him in following appropriate procedures like call for assistance to come to the woman’s rescue or inform of her death, but he had instead embarked on actions which finally led him to being produced before the court yesterday.
Senior Magistrate Muhammed Faisal went on to say that the defendant had caused anxiety to the family of the deceased.
Aggravating factors of the case, as stated by the Senior Magistrate, were that the defendant after having deliberately hid the body, returned and made attempts to arrange for stones and cement to be poured into the pit where the body was concealed.
He had also deliberately concealed his identity and used the deceased’s money to pay for the stones and cement.
Although the defendant had cooperated with the police, it was only after the defendant’s role in the case was discovered, so the court would not put much weight on the defendant’s cooperation.
The court also took into account the fact that the amount misappropriated by the defendant was high and hence viewed it seriously.
The defendant was convicted of his own guilty plea to four charges of failing to report the sudden death of 40-year-old Voon Su Ching on February 13, 2013, burying her corpse at the house compound in Kampong Salambigar, dishonestly misappropriating her property and obstructing police in their investigations on her disappearance.
DPP Danial Kifrawi’s application to have the deceased’s recovered properties returned to her family was upheld by the Senior Magistrate.