Appeal shot down in outrage of modesty case

Fadley Faisal

A man convicted for outraging a woman’s modesty failed in his appeal to the High Court, after contesting the two decisions made by the Magistrate’s Court.

Haji Nora’afbillah bin Ahmad Ja’afar, who was found guilty in a trial of having pressed his body against a woman’s back at a convenience shop, had been sentenced to one year in jail, together with a caning.

He contested the conviction, saying that the magistrate was wrong in finding the victim’s testimony credible and disregarding his own evidence, as well as the court’s findings of his ‘varying’ police statements to be voluntary and in admitting the CCTV footage of the incident.

The appellant also saw that the sentences as being excessive.

Lawyer Sharah Abdul Hamid of Messrs Hale Zainidi Ong put forward the application on representing the appellant.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nurul Fitri binti Kiprawi stood by the prosecution’s case in the convicting court, and that the magistrate had not erred in any way.

Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong addressed the parties, saying that the appellate court would not disturb findings of fact in accordance to trite law; and that the magistrate had the opportunity to make decisions from observing the defendant and victim giving their testimonies, as well as admitting the CCTV footage to be corroborative to the victim’s evidence, which was never disputed in trial by the defence party.

“This was a disgusting sexual act by the appellant, forced on a woman going about doing her grocery shopping. The court must send a strong message that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated,” said the Chief Justice, on deciding that the sentence was not at all excessive, even in spite of the appellant’s clear record.

A Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) sergeant at the time of the offence, the defendant pressed himself against the back of the woman at a convenience store in Kampong Tungku on July 10, 2019.