Two men, a Malaysian and a permanent resident, were sentenced by the Intermediate Court yesterday to five years’ jail with three whippings upon conviction on guilty pleas to charges of possessing home-made rifles.
Malaysian Joenny Tati, 37, and Ricky anak Kalong, 34, pleaded guilty to the charges at the first instant.
However, before the court handed down the sentence, Ricky hired lawyers Lenny Rahman and Mansur Latif, where they applied for retraction of their client’s plea.
The defence counsels submitted that their client did not understand the charge as they were read to him in Malay by the court interpreters as the duo’s native language is Iban.
DPP Nor Hafizah binti Ahmad replied that the defendants did not raise any issues with regards to their pleas even when they had the opportunity to, between mentions of the case.
Judge Muhammed Faisal bin Pehin Dato Haji Kefli ruled that the defendants understood the charges and the consequences of their pleas.
The prosecution revealed that the duo had gone out to hunt in the Paya Gambut forest in Mukim Liang just before midnight on April 14. Sometime later, a forest research camera caught the duo on tape roaming.
On another day, a university professor retrieved the tape from the camera and came across footage of the defendants roaming around carrying rifles, which he handed to the police.
Police investigations led to the duo’s arrest.