PUTRAJAYA: Eight Form Five students who attacked their schoolmate merciless, resulting in his death, five years ago will remain under detention in a juvenile centre at the pleasure of the Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan.
The Court of Appeal led by Justice Datuk Wira Low Hop Bing Friday unanimously dismissed their appeal to set aside the conviction and detention order meted out on them by the Seremban High Court on Aug 6 2004.
The students, aged 16 and 17 at the time of the incident, were found guilty for murdering Muhammad Farid Ibrahim, 16, at the Osman dormitory on the second floor of Sekolah Menengah Agama Datuk Klana Petra Maamor in Seremban between 10.30am and 4.15pm on March 28 2004.
A prosecution witness had testified that he saw an iron rod, a broom and a tin can used in the attack on Muhammad Farid.
The trial, which had attracted wide media coverage, also heard testimonies that Muhammad Farid was kicked in the stomach and had his head stepped on by his seniors.
He died of severe injuries to the head and abdomen. The judgment was handed down by another member of the panel, Justice Datuk Abdul Malik Ishak, who ruled that High Court judge Datuk Azhar Ma'ah did not commit any error in his finding of facts but had in fact considered all the facts and evidence before him, including the students' defence.
The other member of the panel is Datuk K.N.Segara.
Abdul Malik said that looking at the injuries sustained by Muhammad Farid, the court was of the view that there was intention to kill.
"The merciless attack by the appellants (the accused) pratically killed Muhammad Farid on the spot who did not have the chance to retaliate as he was outnumbered.
"The deceased's initial refusal to lend an electric kettle and then grudgingly lending it in the end, but accompanied by a remark "Abang Form 5 tak nak tidur ke? had ignited an argument which led to his death," the judge said. Abdul Malik said the High Court had examined the case with a fine tooth comb and found that the prosecution had proven a prima facie case against the eight.
He said there was overwhelming evidence of four prosecution witnesses on the roles played by the eight students. He said the witnesses knew and were familiar with the eight accused as they lived and studied in the same school although in different classes.
"Notwithstanding the age of the eight accused at the time of the offence, the court dismisses the appeal and upholds the High Court's decision that they continue to be detained at the pleasure of the Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan" Abdul Malik said.
He said it was up to the Pardon's Board to review the case individually at least once a year and it may recommend to the Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan for their early release or further detention.
A total of 15 prosecution witnesses testified in the trial while the defence called 11, including the eight accused.
Deputy public prosecutor Awang Amardajaya Awang Mahmud appeared for the prosecution while the students were represented by counsel Haresh Mahadevan, Ramzani Idris and Mohd Aimi Zaini. - Bernama
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