‘Party-goers’ land behind bars

Fadley Faisal

The Magistrate’s Court yesterday handed jail sentences with fines to the ‘party-goers’ who had pleaded guilty earlier.

Before handing down her sentence, Acting Senior Magistrate Pengiran Hazirah binti Pengiran Haji Mohd Yusof took into consideration the defendants’ early guilty pleas, their mitigation in pleading for a lenient sentence and the defendants’ individual backgrounds, family circumstances and their clean records. Muhammad Dzulhelmi bin Zulkifli was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment and a BND1,500 fine in default three months’ imprisonment.

Hezrin bin Sumin, Ahmad Hafizan bin Sufian, Mohd Izzat bin Abdul Rahman, Nur Hadi Ilhamsyah, Jorainie @ Ainie binti Jormasie, Mohd Amir Muqri bin Haji Awang Md Taha, Mohammad Mateen bin Abdullah Mohammad Cyrus, Malai Tsaqifah binti Haji Malai Yusri and Fatin Nabilah binti Azman were sentenced to two months’ imprisonment and a fine of BND1,500 in default three months’ imprisonment.

Muhd Wafi Mahyuddin bin Muhd Jair, Amirul Hafiz bin Amir Mahmood, Md Amiruddin bin Mohammad, Abdul Hafiz bin Abdul Rahim, Mohd Azizan bin Mohd Marzuki and Qurratu’aini Bazlaa binti Azman were sentenced to two months’ imprisonment.

Latifah Ali was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment and a fine of BND2,500 in default five months’ imprisonment.

In her judgement, the Acting Senior Magistrate stated that a deterrent custodial sentence was necessary as there was a strong public interest in the case, the offence was committed during a critical time when the country was still anxious over the highly contagious COVID-19 disease.

The Acting Senior Magistrate said that the state of the nation at the time the offence was committed is a relevant factor which must be taken into account in deciding an appropriate sentence and at that time there was a strong civic duty to heed the restrictions set in place by the government.

The Acting Senior Magistrate highlighted the defendants’ decision to blatantly ignore the government advice on socialising, and agreed with the prosecution that social gathering was further aggravated by the fact that it was in a relatively confined space where alcohol and drugs were being consumed and underage children were allowed to partake in.

A further aggravating factor was that some defendants did not know each other, and added to the element of negligence as it showed their recklessness in endangering their own lives by being in proximity with strangers that could likely be COVID-19 positive.

Some even shared the drug utensil brought by Latifah Ali. The defendants’ reckless and selfish action demonstrated a total disregard to human life. The Acting Senior Magistrate stated that for the offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act, a fine was acceptable for the offenders, however, for the offence of possession of a drug utensil, it was aggravated due to the fact that Latifah Ali had the drug utensil in her possession even though it was not hers nor was it for her own personal use, it was explicitly brought for the use of others present that evening.

The Acting Senior Magistrate also ordered for the custodial sentences under Section 269 of the Penal Code, Chapter 22 to run with immediate effect. She granted a grace period of one week for the defendants to settle their fines in full, failing which, their in default prison terms will run consecutively to their respective main custodial sentences under Section 269.

The Acting Senior Magistrate ordered for the seized drug utensil to be forfeited to the state for immediate destruction and for Muhmmad Dzulhelmi, Hezrin, Ahmad Hafizan, Mohd Izzat, Nur Hadi, Jorainie, Mohd Amir, Latifah Ali, Mohammad Mateen, Malai Tsaqifah and Fatin Nabilah to undergo a re-urine test immediately and to be brought back to court for a further mention for its results on July 25, 2020.