Man charged in 2019 finally jailed due to trial pause amid outbreak

Fadley Faisal

An outraging modesty case finally concluded on November 7, 2020 after a long pause due to the COVID-19 oubreak, with Haji Noraafbillah bin Ahmad receiving a sentence of 12-month jail term and one whipping.

First charged in July 2019, Haji Noraafbillah bin Ahmad claimed his innocence to the charge and was on trial in October 2019.

As the pandemic hit the country in the first quarter of 2020, it only concluded in 2020.

An RBPF seargant at the time of the offence, the defendant pressed himself against the back of a woman at a convenience store in Kampong Tungku on July 10, 2019.

The defendant, represented by lawyer Zainidi Abdul Hamid, denied the charge and said in his defence that he did not notice the woman at the time.

Acting Senior Magistrate Kamaliah Fadhilah binti Haji Ibrahim, however, found that the prosecution evidence proved the case beyond reasonable doubt, aided by a CCTV footage from the convenience shop’s surveillance camera.

Apart from other circumstances, the court also took into account that the defendant’s wife was not called to testify in support of his claims.

The defence claimed that the defendant told his wife, upon his return to his car, that he had bumped into a lady the shop.

In mitigations, the defence party submitted that the defendant held an exceptionally good record during his service in the force for 21 years, while the prosecution submitted that the defendant should possess and display better discipline and good behaviour.

However, the court decided to take neither submission on his employment as a mitigating or an aggravating factor.

The court also rejected the defence’s invitation to consider a probation as it would not have a deterrent effect to the offence, which was viewed as a serious one.

The court sympathised with the defendant’s family hardship. However, the High Court cited that the hardship caused by a sentence is inevitable but it should not influence the right of sentence.

DPP Fitri Kiprawi prosecuted the case.