The Federal Court has enhanced the sentence of another member of the Al-Ma’unah movement convicted for treason from life imprisonment to death.
The five-person bench headed by Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, unanimously allowed the prosecution’s cross appeal to enhance Jemari Jusoh’s sentence to death yesterday.
The bench also maintained the death sentences of three others, who are the movement leader Mohd Amin Mohd Razali, his deputy Zahit Muslim and another member Jamaludin Darus.
However, the bench dismissed the prosecution’s cross appeal for the death sentence for 15 other Al Ma’unah members who were jailed for life.
On Dec 28 last year, Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin had convicted and imposed life and death sentences against them for committing treason at three places – Pos 2, 19th kilometre Kuala Rui, East–West Highway, Grik, Hulu Perak; 304th Battalion (Infantry), Territorial Army, Kem Grik, Hulu Perak and Bukit Jenalik, Kemajuan Tanah Ngor, Sauk in Kuala Kangsar.
He had sentenced Mohd Amin, Zahit and Jamaludin to death after finding them directly involved in the offence.
Apart from Jemari, 33, the other 15 – Ibrahim Dris, 46, Kamarudin Mustafar, 42, Abdul Ghani Ali @ Ahmad, 36, Idris Anas, 44, Mohamed Faudzi Hamdan, 41, Nasruddin Mohamed Jailani, 37, Ahmad Sarkawi Sulong, 31, Zainal Mohamed Jailani, 36, Mohamed Zaini Mohamed Zainal, 27, Mohamed Ramly Mohamood, 48, Che Sabri Che Jaafar, 32, Mohamed Bukhari Ismail, 30, Suhaimi Hasbullah, 42, Md Amin Othman, 43, and Yunus Hussin, 53 – were given life imprisonment sentences.
Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice Steve Shim in his judgment said the judge had erred by not considering that trooper Mathew Medan was shot in cold blood which only showed Jemari’s total disregard for human life and the extent of his commitment to the cause of overthrowing the Government.
He said there was evidence Mathew was tortured, as he had pleaded for his life before Jemari shot him several times.
“I do not think that he was merely obeying the orders of the first accused (Mohd Amin) but had willingly carried out a brutal act with the aim of striking fear in anyone who opposed their common objective of overthrowing the Government by force and violence.
“It was a deliberate act of terror. Mathew was executed to serve an illegal purpose - pure and simple,” he said.
Federal Court judge Justice Siti Norma Yaakob, who also read her judgment, concurred with Justice Shim, saying Jemari had showed no qualms about shooting Mathew to meet Al-Ma'unah's objective.
The Federal Court then considered whether in a security case a court was obliged to ask the accused to enter his defence unless the prosecution proved a prima facie case against him.
Justice Ahmad Fairuz, Chief Judge of Malaya Haidar Mohd Noor and Justice Siti Norma agreed with the findings of Federal Court judge Justice Abdul Malek Ahmad that regulations 13 and 17 of the Essential
(Security Cases) Regulations (Escar) clearly stated that the defence had to be called at the close of the prosecution’s case.
Justice Abdul Malek said although the Escar had not been used throughout the trial, the 19 men had not been prejudiced.
However, Justice Shim, who dissented in his view, said that even in security cases, the court was not obliged to call for an accused to enter his defence unless the prosecution proved a prima facie case against him.
He said that justice and fair play had become such a “fundamental principle in our adversarial system of trial that it requires much more than words used in regulation 13 of Escar to dislodge it.”
The Federal Court is the last recourse for appeals.