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KUALA LUMPUR Oct 21 — Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas today dismissed claims that no investigation was conducted in the case of the alleged sexual abuse of a minor at a tahfiz school in Ipoh.
In a statement to Malay Mail, he said the case was only dismissed after investigators found no evidence to justify pursuing the case further.
Thomas, in explaining what took place since police reports were first made by mother, said, “Police investigations into this case began with police reports lodged by the mother on August 14, 2016 claiming that her minor son, then aged 10 years old, was alleged to have been sexually molested by three senior students, aged between 12 to 18 years old, at their school in Manjoi.
“Police conducted their investigations by interviewing the victim, the suspects and witnesses such as teachers, staff and the victim’s roommates and other schoolmates. The victim had also undergone a medical examination at a public hospital.
“The statements recorded by the police and the medical report formed part of the Investigation Papers (IP) that were in the usual way referred to Chambers for decision.
“The IP was considered by Chambers. The deputy public prosecutor (DPP) assigned to the matter was of the view that no offence had been committed.
“As there was no other evidence then available for the police to conduct further investigation, ‘No Further Action’ (NFA) was ordered by the DPP in September 2016,” Thomas said in his statement.
The AG’s response came after several quarters, including the Children’s Commissioner of Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), called for the AG to come forward with an explanation for the dismissal of the alleged sexual abuse case.
Thomas said the IP was then reopened in February 2017 following the emergence of new evidence and the IP was resubmitted to the AG’s Chambers.
“The DPP assigned to the case reviewed every piece of evidence made available by the police, including the new evidence.
“Due to insufficient evidence to prove a prima facie case against the suspect(s) or anyone else, the DPP concluded for a second time in February 2018 that investigation need not continue.
“Again, the matter rested there until the involvement of a magistrate,” his statement continued.
However, on June 3 this year, a complaint letter was sent by the mother to the magistrate, Thomas said.
“In her letter, the mother complained that no action had been taken against the alleged perpetrators although she had previously lodged two police reports in 2016. Her letter was not copied to this Chambers.
“The magistrate decided to take cognisance of the mother’s complaint.
“On August 5, the magistrate served on the Perak State Public Prosecutor’s Office a notice to state that this case had been fixed on October 9 before the magistrate for the mother to be examined in relation to her complaint letter.
“The examination was to be conducted by the magistrate purportedly in the exercise of the magistrate’s power under Section 133 of the CPC,” he said in the statement.
Thomas pointed out that the Perak Prosecutor’s Office had responded to the magistrate by letter dated August 27, giving information on the actual status of the investigation and explaining that NFA was ordered.
“The Perak Prosecutor’s Office explained that the mother should not have filed a complaint under Section 133 of the CPC because the police had opened investigation papers in relation to her police reports lodged in 2016, the matter was investigated and NFA decision was taken by the DPP,” he said.
He added that the DPP’s decision to NFA this case is in the exercise of the AG’s power under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution.
“The Constitution confers on the AG (as public prosecutor) the ‘power exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for any offence’.
“He has control and direction with respect to all criminal prosecutions under the law.
“In the instant case, as in thousands of other cases, the power not to institute criminal proceedings or NFA was exercised by a DPP on behalf of the public prosecutor,” his statement read.
Thomas also clarified that a report by Malay Mail last week, saying that the magistrate made the decision after the court was provided with a letter from the Perak State Legal Adviser’s Office detailing a written directive under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution, was not true.
He added that there was no written directive issued by him, and in fact, none was mentioned in the letter from the Perak Prosecutor’s Office to the magistrate.
“The same report also stated that Malay Mail was seeking clarification from me as to why the case was ordered to be dismissed. Again, this is untrue.
“Neither this Chambers’ public relation office nor I personally have received any inquiry for clarification from Malay Mail.
“Their inaccurate report of October 14 was picked up by numerous other portals,” he said.