‘Don’t make remarks on Bella case’

KUALA LUMPUR: The public should not issue any statement or comments on social media regarding the ongoing trial involving Rumah Bonda founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali, who is charged with neglecting and abusing a teenage girl with Down Syndrome, says the trial judge.

Sessions Court judge Izralizam Sanusi said he agreed that Malaysians have the right to freedom of expression but legal action could be taken against those who go overboard in their posts on social media.

“The court would like to warn and remind the public, especially those in the public gallery, not to make any libellous comments that are sub judice or contempt of court.

“I believe that the prosecution can take appropriate action against those involved because it clearly violates the law of contempt of court and sub judice,” he said.

Izralizam said the trial was still ongoing and the fifth prosecution witness – Yasmin Nahar Mahmood – had not finished testifying.

“Do not overstep the law. There is a code of ethics for lawyers while the prosecution and the public are subject to the law.

“The trial still has a long way to go, so keep your comments that are sub judice and libellous to yourself.

“Do not spread them for the sake of gaining followers,” said the judge.

Deputy public prosecutor Nor Azizah Mohamad said there were comments related to the case made by the public on social media.

“I would like to ask the court to warn the public against making postings that could be prejudicial to this case.”

Echoing the same sentiment, Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu, the lawyer appointed by Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim to hold a watching brief in the trial, said the issue also involved officers of the court.

Earlier, Yasmin agreed with the lawyer Nur A’minahtul Mardiah’s suggestion that the teenage girl, known as Bella, would stand in a corner every day on Siti Bainun’s instructions.

Nur A’minahtul suggested that if Bella was told to stand all the time, the teenager would experience knee inflammation and could not move her legs.

To this, Yasmin replied: “I don’t know”.

A video clip of how Bella was found by the complainant of the case, namely the first prosecution witness Zurianty Sudin, 39, was played in court.

However, the public and reporters were ordered to leave the courtroom as the victim is an underage girl.

Yasmin also agreed that Bella never mentioned Siti Bainun’s name or her nickname in the video.

Siti Bainun, 30, pleaded not guilty to two charges of neglecting and abusing the teenager to the point of the victim suffering injuries and also emotionally.

The offences were allegedly committed at a condominium in Wangsa Maju, here, between February and June last year.

The charges, under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act, carries a jail sentence of up to 20 years or a fine of RM50,000 or both, upon conviction.

The trial continues on May 30. — Bernama

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