Paul Yong rape trial postponed to June after witnesses contract Covid-19

IPOH: The rape trial of former Perak executive councillor Paul Yong Choo Kiong has been postponed to eight days in June and July after three prosecution witnesses tested positive for Covid-19.

Ipoh High Court Judge Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed fixed June 23 to 25 and July 12 to 16 for the trial to continue.

The postponement was requested by lead Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Jamil Aripin, who said three prosecution witnesses had tested positive for Covid-19 and were under quarantine.

He said the three witnesses were from the police and in charge of CCTV recordings, which constitute key pieces of the prosecution's evidence in the case.

“Without these three witnesses (testifying), the rest of the witnesses cannot take the stand as we need to show them the recordings, ” he said after two other witnesses testified on Thursday (April 8).

Justice Abdul Wahab also fixed May 28 for submission and decision on matters involving the Witness Protection Act 2009 and Section 265 (A) of the Criminal Procedure Code, for the victim and the second witness, as submitted by the prosecution on Tuesday (April 6).

The prosecution wants to withhold these two witnesses in the sense that the defence lawyers and the accused cannot see them while they are giving evidence.

Yong's defence objected and said it would be sending in its written submissions on May 24, before the decision is made.

When testifying earlier, a maid agency employee said her colleague received a call from the Indonesian Embassy at about 11am on July 8,2019, claiming that a maid had been raped by her employer.

Thong Wan Cheng, 54, a secretary at the agency, said she got all the necessary details and informed another colleague about the matter.

Thong told the court that this colleague then called Yong's wife to inform her that the agency would be sending a driver and counsellor to check on the maid.

“However, the accused's wife told my colleague that no one was home, and she would be back by 2pm.

“When the driver and the counsellor reached the house, they were told that the maid was not home, and a bunch of keys were missing as well, ” she added.

Thong also said she was not the one who lodged a police report on behalf of the agency stating that the maid had been treated unfairly by her employer.

On Aug 23,2019, Yong claimed trial at the Ipoh Sessions Court to raping his then 23-year-old maid.

The offence was allegedly committed in a room on the top floor of his house in Meru Desa Park on July 7 that year, between 8.15pm and 9.15pm.

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