PUTRAJAYA, Aug 4 — The Court of Appeal today upheld a Sessions Court decision in ordering a self-employed man who was convicted of one count of raping and two counts of committing physical sexual assault on his 10-year-old daughter to serve the jail sentences for the three charges concurrently.

A three-member bench of the Court of Appeal comprising Justices Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, Datuk M. Gunalan and Datuk Dr Choo Kah Sing made the ruling in an appeal by the 45-year-old seeking the court to clarify whether the jail sentences that were imposed on him were to run concurrently or consecutively.

In upholding the Sessions Court’s decision, the bench ordered him to serve the jail sentences concurrently from October 13 last year, which was the date of his arrest.

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The man pleaded guilty to the charges at the Sessions Court on October 20 last year and was sentenced to 12 years in jail and 12 strokes of the cane for the rape charge.

For the two counts of committing physical assault, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and four strokes of the cane, and 10 years and five strokes of the cane, respectively.

“You are very lucky. The offences you committed are very serious. The Sessions Court wanted to sentence you to 22 years imprisonment and 21 strokes of caning but due to a technical error, you are given 12-year jail and 21 strokes of caning, said Justice Hadhariah.

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She said since deputy public prosecutor Aida Khairuleen Azli confirmed that the Sessions Court judge had made an order that all the jail sentences were to begin from the date of arrest, the appellate court would have to maintain it.

Justice Hadhariah said this means the jail sentences for the three offences were to run concurrently and the man would only serve 12 years in jail.

In sentencing the man, Sessions Court judge Norakhmar Mohd Sani had stated in her decision that the jail sentences for the three offences were to commence from the date of his arrest. She also said that the jail sentences for the two physical sexual assault charges were to run concurrently.

However, on October 21 last year, the Sessions Court judge wrote to the High Court informing that she had made a mistake in her decision and requested the court to conduct a revision of the case.

In the letter, she said she intended the man to serve 22 years in jail from the date of his arrest, with the sentence for the rape offence to be served consecutively with the jail sentences for the physical sexual assault offences.

However, the judge did not pronounce it in her decision for the jail sentence for the rape offence to run consecutively from the jail term for the sexual assault offences.

On January 19 this year, the High Court dismissed the revision application saying there was no illegality in the jail sentences, prompting the man, represented by lawyer Rozilan Abdul Rahman, to file an appeal to the Court of Appeal to clarify whether the jail sentences are to run concurrently or consecutively.

According to the charges, the man, who has three children, committed the offences on his 10-year-old at a house in Jerantut, in Pahang, in July and October 9 last year.

The Sessions Court also ordered the man to undergo counselling for two years while in detention. ― Bernama