Man charged with desecrating surau, stealing idol

KLANG: A 37-year-old man was charged at the magistrate's court here for placing three idols in a surau last week.

Helmee Othman was charged under Section 295 of the Penal Code for desecrating a place of worship.

He is alleged to have committed the offence at the Sabilul Huda surau in Taman Pendamar near here.

In the first charge, which was read before magistrate Roslizi Sulaiman on Wednesday (Feb 27), Helmee is accused of committing the offence between 4.00pm and 4.15pm on Feb 20 at the surau.

In the second charge, which was read before magistrate Muhammad Azzam Zainal Abidin in another court, he is accused of placing more idols at the same surau between 2.30pm and 2.45pm on Feb 23.

Helmee was also accused of stealing an idol belonging to one Cheong Lin Chai on Feb 20.

For this, he was charged before Roslizi under Section 379 of the Penal Code for theft.

He faces a jail term up to two years or a fine or both for the charges under Section 295. In addition, he is also liable to be jailed up to seven years or fined or both if found guilty of stealing the idol.

The accused pleaded guilty to all three charges.

Helmee was defended by Nur Aida Md Zainuddin while the case was prosecuted by Mohd Fairuz Johari.

Nur Aida told the court that Helmee must be sent for mental assessment before his plea was recorded.

"Someone who is in the right frame of mind would not have done what he did, which was a very insensitive act," she said.

Mohd Fairuz meanwhile said the prosecution had the discretion to send the accused for an assessment of his mental health.

"But at this stage there isn't any documentary evidence or anything else to state that he has mental issues," he added.

He then told both magistrates that he was leaving it to the courts to decide on the next course of action.

Muhammad Azzam ordered for Helmee to be sent for psychiatric evaluation at the Hospital Bahagia in Ulu Kinta, Perak.

Roslizi, meanwhile, fixed March 27 for Helmee's mental health status report to be evaluated in court.

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