KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court ruled that it has the authority to hear the case OF seven Somalians charged with shooting at the Malaysian Armed Forces in the course of a planned robbery in the Gulf of Aden.
Judge Kamardin Hashim dismissed the application by one of the accused to quash the charges, saying that the Attorney-General's sanction to prosecute was correct in law.
He added that whether the offences would be considered threats against Malaysia would be determined during the trial. The 16-year-old applicant filed a notice of motion to have the charge struck out or stayed permanently on the grounds that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case against him as the incident occurred outside Malaysian territory.
His counsel Edmund Bon said the A-G's sanction to prosecute dated Feb 11, 2011 under Section 127(A)(1)(d) of the Criminal Prosecution Code should be set aside as it was baseless and flawed. “The incident is not proven to be a threat against Malaysian security as there was no sign that the ship was headed to Malaysia or planning to attack the country,” Edmund told the court, on Monday.
DPP Mohd Abazafree Mohd Abbas argued that the situation could constitute a threat against the country as Malaysian Armed Forces officers , who are Malaysian citizens, were put at risk when the pirates shot at the ship.
The court dismissed the application and fixed the trial to continue today.
The seven were charged last year for the offence allegedly committed between 8.10pm and 10pm on the Bunga Laurel ship off Oman waters on Jan 20 last year.
The charge comes under Section 3 of the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction. The case was transferred to the High Court on April 14 last year.
The pirates' attempt to hijack the tanker, which was carrying an estimated RM30mil in lubricating oil and ethylene dichloride, was foiled by the Royal Malaysian Navy after a shoot-out.
All 18 pirates surrendered and three were reportedly injured in the shooting. The 23 Filipino crew members on board the vessel were unharmed.
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