Bail appeal result this Friday

Day in court: Police officers escorting Santhiea to the George Town High Court in Penang. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: A teenager, who is facing a charge of murdering her newborn girl, will continue spending the next few days in jail pending a High Court decision on whether she should be granted bail.

Judge Datuk Amirudin Abd Rahman said a decision would be made this Friday to determine whether M. Santhiea, 18, could be released on bail pending the trial.

“I will need a few days to deliberate. Until the decision is made, she is to be further detained, ” he said at the High Court here yesterday.

Santhiea was charged in a Magistrate’s Court here on July 16 last year under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the death penalty upon conviction.

The alleged murder took place at 8.25am on July 10 at Sri Ivory Apartment in Bandar Baru, Ayer Itam.

Prior to that, the case caught the public’s eye following news reports that a baby was thrown out from a 13th floor apartment unit.

Although a murder charge under the Penal Code is a non-bailable offence, the former college student was granted a RM30,000 bail in September by the Court of Appeal.

Her counsel RSN Rayer had appealed on the grounds that the girl, who turned 18 in April last year, required medical attention after giving birth to the child unassisted at home.

However, Santhiea’s bail was revoked by the Magistrate’s Court on Dec 17 last year after the case was transferred to the High Court.

Magistrate Jamaliah Abd Manap had then said the bail was automatically revoked once the case had been sent to the High Court.

Yesterday, Rayer filed an application with the court to allow Santhiea to be out on bail despite it being a non-bailable offence.

He said Section 388(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code allows the court the discretion to grant bail to those below 18, a woman or a sick or infirm person.

“She is a woman and she was earlier allowed bail by the Court of Appeal.

“She has not breached any of the terms of the bail during that duration.

“In a recent case, the Federal Court granted Samirah Muzaffar, the wife of the late Cradle Fund chief executive officer Nazrin Hassan, bail pending her murder trial, ” he said.

DPP Khairul Anuar Abdul Halim said in cases where the offence was punishable by death, granting of bail should be decided with utmost care.

“Section 388 is used for special reasons that are exceptional.

“There is nothing in her report that showed that she would be deprived of her medical treatment while in custody.

“There is not enough reasoning for her to be allowed bail under Section 388, ” said Khairul Anuar.

Rayer countered that Section 388 did not need an exceptional or special reason but “merely that she is a woman”.

“The highest court in the country allowed bail to a woman charged with murder, ” he said.

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