SHAH ALAM: Mohd Hasnul Hashim, better known as Hunter, who stole a police patrol car with a loaded submachine gun in July 2000, was spared a lifetime in jail.
After finding that the prosecution had failed to prove a strong case against Mohd Hasnul, Sessions Court Judge Suraya Othman amended the original charge, under Section 4 of the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act, to one under the Penal Code.
Mohd Hasnul then pleaded guilty to a charge, under Section 392 of the Penal Code, of robbing RM588 from Cheng Kok Kheng by breaking into the mans house in Taman Sri Gombak in the early evening of July 27, 2000.
Justice Suraya sentenced Mohd Hasnul to seven years in jail beginning from the day of his arrest in late July 2000.
Earlier, when delivering her judgement on whether to call Mohd Hasnul to enter his defence, Justice Suraya said that Section 4 of the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act provided for the severe penalty of a mandatory life sentence and six strokes of the rotan.
This Act clearly spells out the need for a specific charge and well-built case to be brought against the accused, she said.
The Judge said the prosecution had not proven, via a ballistic test, that the firearm in the case was functional.
Merely mentioning in court that the firearm had a barrel and describing other features of the firearm is insufficient.
Failure to conduct a ballistic test raised doubts about the identity of the firearm, whether the piece that was brought to court was indeed the same firearm used in the robbery, said Judge Suraya.
The judge pointed out that the first information report recorded by a police corporal during investigations did not mention any firearm in the stolen patrol car.
She said that another point of doubt was created when police conducted a raid at the house of Mohd Hasnuls sister, which led to his arrest and the recovery of the firearm.
There were no other adults in the house when the raid was conducted, only three children aged six, four and three.
The sister came home only after the raid was over, said Justice Suraya.
However, the judge noted that the act of robbery had been proven in the case and she viewed the offence seriously.
Earlier, during mitigation, defence counsel V. Jayamurugan said the accused wished to apologise to his victim and had repented.