High Court rejects jailed ‘police inspector’s’ appeal

Fadley Faisal

The High Court yesterday dismissed an appeal against the sentence of a jailed ‘inspector’, citing the Magistrate’s Court decision to hand a one-year prison term as fitting.

Mohammad Azwan bin Zawawi, through his counsel Pengiran Khairul Nizam bin Pengiran Haji Mohd Yassin, submitted that the circumstances of the case simply warranted a probation order as punishment, being a case of a man dressing up as a police officer to flirt with a woman.

He also submitted that no one was harmed except himself and L/Cpl Arman, whom he had abetted in criminal breach of trust by instigation; and that he is a useful citizen, by the fact that he and his wife operate an advertising agency with five local employees.

“The Chief Magistrate did not consider it proper to order probation, having regard to the gravity of the offences and the need for a deterrent sentence,” said Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong, on agreeing with the sentencing magistrate’s decision.

“(The victim) was deceived by the appellant to enter into a relationship with him, and it is evident that when she found out he was an impostor, she felt it was a sufficiently serious matter to make a police report,” the Chief Justice said. The Chief Justice then took into account the fact that impersonation of a police officer has the potential to tarnish the image of the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF), and warrants a deterrent sentence in the public interest.

“The appellant’s abetment of criminal breach of trust by L/Cpl Arman, by instigating him to steal police property (in which is in his safe custody) warrants a severe sentence. A probation order, given the gravity of the offence, would be wholly inappropriate,” said the Chief Justice, on dismissing the appeal.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Raihan Nabilah binti Haji Ahmad Ghazali represented the Public Prosecutor as respondent in the appeal.