Ex-aquatics coach acquitted again

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 22 Feb 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: A former national aquatics squad coach, who had been accused of raping his student three years ago, walked out a free man after he was cleared of the charge for the third time.

High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali ordered Huang Qiang, 38, to be freed after dismissing an appeal by the prosecution.

In his decision, the judge said Huang’s defence had focused on the issue of time lapse between the time the accused and the victim were asked to take chairs from the dry gym and their return to the pool.

A CCTV recording, he said, also supported the defence’s version that there was not enough time for the rape to have occurred.

“This certainly does not support the case of the prosecution, especially since other considerations too cast doubt on the occurrence of rape, ” Justice Nazlan said.

The judge said the medical report and the evidence by the doctor, who examined the victim merely found the existence of an old tear.

The victim admitted to having a sexual relationship with a boyfriend previously.

“I have also taken into account that based on WeChat communication and witness testimony, there is evidence of the accused harassing or making sexual advances on other occasions not only to the victim, but at least one other diver, ” he said.

However, on the totality of the evidence, Justice Nazlan found that the trial court did not err in its finding that the accused had raised a reasonable doubt during the time and place of the offence as specifically framed in the charge against him.

“The trial court is correct in its judgment that the prosecution had not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.

“I therefore dismiss the appeal and affirm the acquittal and discharge of the accused, ” Justice Nazlan said.

Yesterday’s appeal by the prosecution was Huang’s third acquittal by the courts.

In April 2018, he was acquitted without his defence being called when the Sessions Court ruled that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case.

But upon an appeal by the prosecution, he was ordered to enter his defence on the rape charge under Section 376(1) of the Penal Code. He was acquitted for the second time at the end of his defence trial last year.

Huang, who obtained Malaysian citizenship, was charged with raping the national diver, then aged 20, at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil at 5.30pm on Sept 26,2017.The charge carries a jail term of up to 20 years and whipping.

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