Swedish child abuse trial: Court mulls community service for couple

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014

STOCKHOLM: The court here discussed the possibility of community service as an alternative to a prison sentence for the Malaysian couple accused of beating their children, should they be convicted.

District Judge Mattias Möller said Azizul Raheem Awalluddin, a Tourism Malaysia director in Stockholm, and his wife Shalwati Norshal had given consent to the probation board to do community service if they were convicted.

"Both have no previous criminal record and while the probation board still needs to access if there's a risk of repeated criminality, they find no need for probation," said the judge on Wednesday.

Judge Möller also noted that the parents had been incarcerated since being arrested on Dec 18, last year. 

Sweden has outlawed corporal punishment since 1979, meaning Azizul and Shalwati face up to six years prison if found guilt of hitting their children.

While community service is an alternative to prison time, the parents would still have a criminal conviction on their records if found guilty.

Shalwati's counsel Kristofer Stahre submitted to the Solna district court a report from the Malaysian Education Ministry that stated there would be negative consequences to Shalwati's career as a teacher, should she be convicted.  

Shalwati, who seemed to be on the verge of tears, said the book of conduct for civil servants states that a conviction would cause her to lose her job and position.

Azizul's lawyer Jonas Tamm also stated that the same rules applied to his client, who was the sole breadwinner for the family, earning about 24,000 SEK (RM12,000) a month.

Stahre later told reporters that discussing the possibility for community service did not mean the court had come to a decision, rather just a way to examine alternatives.

He said community service could range from anything including helping the elderly, working at a second hand shop, to walking dogs.

"But we're not there yet (guilty verdict). I am determined to see Shalwati cleared of all her charges," said Stahre.

On Feb 10, Shalwati and Azizul were charged with multiple counts of gross violation of a child's integrity, by hitting and abusing their children.

The alleged offences took place in the family's home in Spånga, a Stockholm suburb, between Sept 15, 2010 and Dec 17, 2013.

The court set Friday for both prosecution and defence to submit their closing arguments.

It is expected to be the last day of the trial, with a verdict issued only two weeks later.

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