Appeal of man on 27 corruption charges dismissed

Fadley Faisal

The High Court recently dismissed an appeal made by a man convicted of 27 corruption charges. Reginalo Choong Cheng Jian was sentenced to three years’ jail, after he pleaded guilty on October 3, 2020, to repeatedly bribing a customs officer on 27 counts.

Choong, represented by lawyer Anlan Hee Tze Khow, contended that the sentencing the Magistrate had erred in law by ordering consecutive sentences, failing to consider his family’s hardship and the delay in prosecution.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nor Hafizah binti Ahmad’s facts stated that the applicant had entered into a deal with Customs officer Haji Haikal to be allowed to smuggle alcohol and cigarettes from Miri to Brunei through the Sungai Tujoh Control Post between October 2017 and March 2018.

Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong addressed the issue of the sentence passed, where the Magistrate had taken the proper approach reflecting the overall culpability of the applicant in committing multiple offences and in its totality principle.

On the applicant’s family circumstances, the Chief Justice said there was nothing exceptional about the appellant’s familial state to warrant the court’s interference in the correct sentence.

Meanwhile, the Chief Justice said the delay in the prosecution would not ineluctably lead to a discount in the sentence being given to the offender.

“The gravity of the offences and the culpability of the appellant outweigh any benefit he should be accorded on account of the anxiety he may have suffered because of the delay in prosecution,” the court added.

The Chief Justice concluded that the sentence handed is not excessive, bearing in mind the seriousness of the offences committed by the appellant and the public interest.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nor Hafizah represented the Public Prosecutor as respondent.