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Court of Appeal upholds sentence handed to unrepentant thief

Fadley Faisal

The Court of Appeal on June 12 upheld the Intermediate Court’s sentence to a housebreaking offender citing his previous records as aggravating factors.

“The sentence could be regarded as being on the lenient side,” Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong said on examining the circumstances of the case.

Mohd Zulaini bin Haji Sani pleaded guilty to committing housebreaking for theft and was sentenced on September 29, 2021.

He was to serve four years and four months’ jail with three whippings.

He and an accomplice were driving around on July 18, 2021 when they noticed a house in RPN Kampong Tungku with a light still on at 7am.

They assumed it was unoccupied and decided to break-in.

PHOTO: ENVATO

Once inside after having forced their entry, the duo made away with electrical and smart appliances.

The house owner who was in Kuala Belait at the time discovered the theft and caught it live on his mobile phone linked to a CCTV camera at the Tungku house.

He captured stills from the footage, sent it to the Royal Brunei Police Force while filing a police report leading to the duo’s arrest.

With the assistance of Prosecutors Kamal Ariffin bin Ismail and Shamshuddin bin Haji Kamaluddin in responding to the appeal, the appellate court discovered that Mohd Zulaini had previously been convicted of housebreaking offences and saw that he is liable to imprisonment of up to 10 years.

Mohd Zulaini first committed a theft offence in 2005, with three more convictions to follow and ended with a housebreaking for a theft offence in 2018.

He last received a sentence of four years’ jail with two whippings.

“There is no arguable case against the sentence,” the Chief Justice said on dismissing the appeal he presided in while being assisted by Justices Conrad Seagroatt and Michael Peter Burrell.

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