Man charged with possessing indecent photos of underage girls

|     Fadley Faisal     |

A LOCAL man has been released on strict bail conditions after denying allegations of molestation and possession of indecent photographs of underage girls.

The 32-year-old defendant, whose name is withheld to protect the victims’ identities, denied the charges in the High Court yesterday before Justice Pengiran Datin Paduka Hajah Rostaina binti Pengiran Haji Duraman.

The five charges included one charge of aggravated outrage of modesty of his 17-year-old niece sometime in February this year, and one charge of outraging the modesty of a 19-year-old woman under his care in a separate incident in December 2018.

The other three charges allege him of possession of obscene photographs of his niece and two other teenage girls – one of his daughter’s friends and the other one of his son’s girlfriend – aged between 13 and 17 years old.

Defence Counsel Sheikh Noordin bin Sheikh Mohammad argued that the defendant, who has no previous convictions, should be released on court bail with attached conditions.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nurul Fitri binti Kiprawi disputed that the defendant being charged with serious sexual offences could pose a risk of tampering with the prosecution’s witnesses, particularly the victims, due to their close relationship with the defendant.

The court also heard that all the victims previously stayed at a house in Kampong Katok ‘B’ with the defendant when the alleged offences took place between January 2018 and June 2019.

Upon hearing the submissions from both counsels, Justice Pengiran Datin Paduka Hajah Rostaina released the defendant on a BND10,000 bail or two local sureties with strict conditions.

He has been ordered not to have any form of contact with any of the victims directly or indirectly. The defendant has also been told that he would be breaching his bail conditions if he fails to report himself to the police twice a week.

Before being released yesterday on bail, the defendant had been in remand since July 16 following the lodging of the police report against him.

The High Court set August 26 for further mention of the case.