Good behaviour bond sentence in maid abuse case illegal, lawyer says

Ramkarpal urged the Indonesian Embassy to act on the injustice promptly and to demand a revision of Rozita’s sentence. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Ramkarpal urged the Indonesian Embassy to act on the injustice promptly and to demand a revision of Rozita’s sentence. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — The good behaviour bond imposed on a “Datin” who abused her domestic helper should be revised as it is illegal and no longer applicable, a lawyer said today.

Ramkarpal Singh, who is also Bukit Gelugor MP, said Datin Rozita Mohamad Ali’s sentence, who pleaded guilty to causing Suyanti Sutrinso grievous hurt by dangerous weapons, was not an option under the amended Criminal Procedure Code in 2016.

“The charge against Rozita was initially one of attempted murder, which was subsequently amended to one under section 326 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means which carries, amongst others, punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years,” said Ramkarpal in a statement.

“With respect, I am of the view that the learned Sessions Court judge fell into error in imposing the said sentence as the law no longer provides for a good behavior bond in cases which involve serious offences which is defined in the Penal Code as an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term of ten years or more.”

Rozita was accused of abusing Suyanti, then aged 19, in December 2016 with a kitchen knife, a steel mop, a clothes hanger, and an umbrella.

The young Indonesian woman reportedly suffered injuries to her head, hands, legs and internal organs.

Ramkarpal added that the amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code excluded the option to bind a convict on a good behaviour bond if the person was charged with a serious offence.

Ramkarpal also explained that since the amendment did not apply retrospectively, Petaling Jaya Sessions Court Judge Mohammed Mokhzani Mokhtar had acted out of his jurisdiction in imposing the good behaviour bond on Rozita and urged the High Court to review the sentence.

“I am of the view that the sentence imposed on Rozita is clearly illegal and ought to be revised by the High Court which must be done immediately in the interests of justice,” he said.

“It is common knowledge that a High Court judge has the power to revise such decisions from a lower court even in the absence of an application by any party as he may do so on his own.

“Alternatively, the Public Prosecutor ought to file an application to revise the said sentence urgently as same cannot stand and I urge the Attorney General to do so forthwith,” added Ramkarpal.

He also urged the Indonesian Embassy to act on the injustice promptly and to demand a revision of Rozita’s sentence.

Yesterday, the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court here ordered Rozita to be placed on a good behaviour bond for five years with surety of RM20,000 for the offense.

When handing down the sentence, Mohammed Mokhzani said it did not mean that the accused had been freed because if she was found involved in criminal activities, she could be charged again over the same case and sentenced to imprisonment.

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