Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Brunei Town

Court dismisses sex offender’s appeal

The Court of Appeal dismissed a sexual offender’s appeal against his conviction and sentence recently.

Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong and Justices Michael Peter Burrell and Conrad Seagroatt refused Dr Matthew Tan’s application on November 16.

His counsel, Ahmad Basuni Abbas of messrs Abrahams Davidson and Co, contended the Magistrate’s Court findings citing inconsistencies and having erred in law, among others.

Respondent Deputy Public Prosecutor Nurul Fitri binti Kiprawi raised various points in addressing the application.

Among others, the respondent emphasised the established legal principles where the appellate court should not disturb factual findings. The appellate court agreed with the respondent, further reiterating that the principles are in place “unless the factual findings are plainly wrong or clearly against the weight of evidence, especially considering the court’s opportunity to assess witness credibility”.

Dr Tan was handed a 21-month jail sentence for molesting a friend.

No whipping was imposed on Dr Tan as he is over 50 years old.

Magistrate Hajah Noor Amalina binti Dato Paduka Haji Alaihuddin convicted Dr Tan on finding the prosecution to have proven the case beyond reasonable doubt, mainly relying on the victim’s testimonies.

The court also did not believe Dr Tan’s version of the event after finding inconsistencies in his defence when compared to his police statements. – Fadley Faisal