Guilty as charged: Riduan walking out from the Sessions Court in Kota Kinabalu.
KOTA KINABALU: The man who had sex with a 13-year-old and then married her in a bid to escape prosecution has been found guilty of raping her.
Restaurant manager Riduan Masmud, 41, a father of four children aged between two and 17, showed no emotion as Sessions Court judge Ummu Kalthom Samad handed down the judgment in a packed courtroom filled with his family members and more than 10 non-governmental organisations.
Sentencing has been set for Monday after the court hears submissions from both the prosecution and the defence. Riduan’s RM8,000 bail was extended pending sentencing.
The judge ruled that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Raja Zaizul Faridah said her submissions would include an impact statement from the victim, as they would be applying for a deterrent sentence.
Riduan, who conducted his defence on his own after counsel Loretto S. Padua discharged himself midway through the trial, has appointed Ram Singh to handle the mitigation.
The case has grabbed both national and international interest with various groups pressuring prosecutors to take action against Riduan following his attempt to avoid being charged by marrying the girl.
He was later charged under section 376 of the Penal Code for statutory rape which carries a maximum 20-year jail term and whipping.
He was charged with raping the schoolgirl in a parked vehicle on a road enroute to the Kionsom waterfall in Inanam, between 9am and 10am on Feb 18 last year.
Among those watching were counsel for the Sabah Women Action Resource Group (SAWO), Women’s Centre for Change, Penang, Sisters in Islam, Bukit Harapan, Sabah Law Association and Voices of the Children Malaysia.
Kota Kinabalu Befrienders president Datin Sri Siti Rubiah Abdul Samad, the wife of Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, was also at the court with other NGO representatives.
Asked to comment, Rubiah said she would speak after the sentencing.