JOHOR BARU: A 19-year-old labourer was sentenced to a year in jail after he pleaded guilty to 14 counts of posting insulting comments on Facebook about the Johor royal family, especially the crown prince.
Muhammad Amirul Azwan Mohd Shakri, from Tumpat, Kelantan, admitted to the 14 charges of posting insulting comments and replies on a Facebook page called TRW Troll Story using the name Miyo Castelo with the intention of hurting the feelings of others, between March and April this year.
The youth nodded that he understood and admitted to all the 14 charges that were read to him before sessions judge Sabariah Atan yesterday.
The eldest child of a labourer and a farm worker, Muhammad Amirul Azwan pleaded for a lighter sentence saying that he works as a labourer and had to care for his four younger siblings who are still studying.
“This is my first offence and I hope that you can give me a second chance,” he said.
Sabariah asked whether the youth had too much free time on his hands and whether he realised what he was doing.
Muhammad Amirul Azwan responded: “My parents could not afford to send me to school.
“I did not realise that it was an offence to post those replies. I apologise to the people of Johor as I did not intend to insult the Johor Sultan .”
Deputy public prosecutor Nor Azizah Mohamad said ignorance of the law was not an excuse for his actions and appealed to the court for a reasonable sentence to serve as a reminder to the accused and to the public not to repeat the offence, which tarnished the image of the Johor royal institution.
Before handing out her judgement, Sabariah asked Muhammad Amirul Azwan whether he had money to pay the fine, to which he replied no.
She then sentenced him to a year in jail for each of the 14 charges and ordered the term to run concurrently starting from his date of arrest on April 28.
At that point, Muhammad Amirul Azwan, clad in a brown graphic T-shirt, pleaded for a fine instead of a jail term, saying that he could not be in jail because he had to work to take care of his siblings.
Sabariah said that her decision had been made and the youth, visibly stunned, immediately sat down.