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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — A witness told the High Court hearing the case of two teenagers charged with the murder of 23 occupants of Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah two years ago that one of them had placed the lighter allegedly used during the fire incident at the centre in a bedroom in his house.
ASP Mohd Shafizan Sazali said the teenager told him the matter when he and a policeman from Wangsa Maju Police headquarters CID were interrogating the teenager at Pantai Police station on September 17, 2017 at 5.30 pm.
The accused said “Sir, the lighter used during the incident is placed on a small table in the bedroom of my house. The ‘Cricket’ brand lighter is red in colour. I can show you where the lighter is placed”.
Mohd Shafizan, who served as criminal operations officer at Wangsa Maju Police headquarters CID from April 1, 2014 to Jan 15, 2019, said this during examination-in-chief by Deputy Public Prosecutor Julia Ibrahim.
The 66th prosecution witness said he then went to the teenager’s house in Kampung Datuk Keramat where he showed him a Cricket brand orange-coloured lighter on the bed.
Mohd Shafizan later agreed with lawyer Haijan Omar, representing the two accused, that the place where the lighter was found and the colour was different from the suspect’s statement during interrogation.
Asked by Julia on why the lighter was different, Mohd Shafizan replied: “There were other lighters but the one that was showed to me was the one that being seized.”
Julia: Did you know that the police went to the house the day before you?
Mohd Shafizan: I don’t know.
Two teenage boys, then aged 16, were jointly charged with murdering and causing the death of the 23 residents at the tahfiz centre at Jalan Keramat Hujung, Kampung Datuk Keramat, here, between 4.15am and 6.45am on September 14, 2017.
The two accused, now aged 18, each face 23 counts of murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 34 of the same law, which provides a mandatory death sentence, upon conviction.
However, Section 97(1) of the Child Act 2001 states that a death sentence shall not be pronounced or recorded against a person convicted of an offence if the child is under the age of 18, and in lieu of the death sentence, as provided under Section 97 (2) of the same law, the court shall order the person to be detained at the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Section 94 of the same law also empowers the court to order the parents or guardians of the child offender to pay a fine or provide compensation.
The trial before Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah continues tomorrow. — Bernama