KUALA LUMPUR: A former bus driver was jailed 12 years and ordered to be whipped seven times for raping a student inside a bus in 1996.
Norhisham Yeop Ahmad, 34, was expressionless when Ampang Sessions Court judge Mohamed Saman Mohd Ramli gave his judgment yesterday.
Mohamed Saman, who ordered the jail term to run effective yesterday, said Norhisham had failed to raise reasonable doubts in the prosecution's case.
“The evidence given by the victim showed that she had wanted to get down from the bus but the accused had pulled her, causing her to fall on the floor of the bus where he raped her. I have to take note that rape cases continue to become rampant like the Canny Ong's case in Shah Alam,” he said.
Pleading for leniency earlier, counsel Ravi Nekoo said Norhisham – who is the sole breadwinner of his family – had a wife, three children and an aged mother to care for.
Ravi said Norhisham, who is now a lorry driver, was earning RM1,200 per month to support his family.
He added that the court should consider that the accused was a first-time offender and had a good attitude now.
DPP Azizzul Shariman Mat Yusof pressed for a deterrent sentence, saying that the case was a statutory rape and the victim, who was taking the bus to return home that night, had to bear with the psychological impact and her education had been affected.
“Public interest should be given a priority as it is the right of the people to have a safe life in our country. Please impose a sentence which could send a strong message that the Government and the court view rape crimes seriously,” DPP Azizzul said.
On May 16, 1996, Norhisham had claimed trial to raping the 15-year-old student inside the bus at the last stop in Taman Muda, Ampang at about 9pm on April 17, 1996.
On Nov 6, 2001, Norhisham was ordered to enter his defence where he later opted to give a sworn testimony.