Increased jail terms for criminal breach of trust offences: Attorney General

|     Fadley Faisal     |

THE length of imprisonments for offences relating to criminal breach of trust under the Penal Code has been increased following amendments made to the provisions of the Mental Health Order last year, Attorney General Dato Paduka Haji Hairol Arni bin Haji Abdul Majid announced yesterday.

Dato Paduka Haji Hairol Arni was delivering his speech during the opening of the Legal Year 2019 at the Supreme Court Building.

The custodial sentence for criminal breach of trust under Section 406 of the Penal Code has been increased from five to 10 years.

For criminal breach of trust committed by carriers entrusted with property under Section 407, the custodial sentence has been increased from 10 to 15 years, while for offences committed by clerks or servants, the custodial sentence may now extend to 15 years, up from the previous of 10 years.

For criminal breach of trust committed by civil servants, bankers and merchants or agents, the custodial sentence is now a maximum 20 years up from the previous 10 years.

Attorney General Dato Paduka Haji Hairol Arni bin Haji Abdul Majid. – RAHWANI ZAHARI

The Attorney General also mentioned other amendments which incorporate two new sections: Section 409A and Section 409B.

Section 409A provides that “it is not a defence to show that the property was openly appropriated or that the appropriation was duly recorded and entered in the books and accounts of the company or association or body of person, whether they are incorporated or not”.

Section 409B now provides the presumption of the offender in criminal breaches of trust, as “any person entrusted with property or with dominion over property is presumed to have acted dishonestly where it is proven that he had misappropriated the property, used or disposed of that property in violation of any direction of law, or suffered any person to carry out any of the acts”.

The Attorney General also announced the consent given to him by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to work closely with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications in drafting a new legislation to create a regulatory framework for monitoring and conducting more efficient reporting of cybersecurity threats.

“At the same time, it also creates a licensing regime which serves to regulate how data security is handled by mobile networks and data security providers,” Dato Paduka Haji Hairol Arni said, adding that he hopes the new law will add a further dimension to data privacy, the cybercrime legal framework and cybersecurity in the nation as a whole.

He also expressed the Attorney General’s Chambers’ and the Brunei community’s concern over the rising rate of suicide and mental health issues in the country.

“While society’s perception and stigmatisation (of the matter) discourages (sufferers to talk about or admit to the issue), I believe by holding more awareness programmes on the problem such as through roadshows and public education, with the involvement of other relevant agencies and NGOs, we can bring about a mindset change on mental disorders,” the Attorney General said, stressing that more training programmes for social workers, health professionals, family members and teachers are needed to bring this shift.