KOTA KINABALU: The Sessions Court here sentenced a 30-year-old man to 12 years in jail and two strokes of the rotan for raping an underaged girl.
The court also heard a testimony from the 16-year-old victim who attempted to end her life twice over the incident.
Sessions Court Judge Elsie Primus ruled that the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt against the accused.
Before handing down the sentence on Tuesday (Dec 6), the judge held that the crime was a serious offence where the accused had raped the victim who was only 16-years-old at the time and that the incident had destroyed the girl’s dignity.
The accused was found guilty of raping the girl in a car at the Likas Sport Complex here, between 10pm and 11.59pm, on Nov 10, 2019.
The accused was convicted under Section 376(1) of the Penal Code which provides for a jail term of up to 20 years, and whipping, on conviction.
The accused was then ordered by the court to serve the jail sentence from the date of his arrest on Dec 24, 2019, and to be placed under police supervision for two years after completing his jail sentence.
The court also held that it had observed the accused’s behaviour during the trial and found the latter was remorseful while his family members were present in court to support him.
At the same time, however, the court considered the incident a public interest case and that the offence was serious in nature.
Counsel Mohd Fadzil Abd Karim who appeared for the accused during mitigation, appealed for a lenient sentence for his client, pointing out that the accused was remanded since he was arrested as his application for bail was rejected.
The period of two years and 11 months under remand had given a lesson to the accused whose marriage has taken a strain, said Mohd Fadzil.
He added that, prior to his arrest, the accused also took care of his 60-year-old mother.
Based on the facts of the case, he said, the accused did not harm or act violently towards the victim, adding this was his first offence.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Mas Izzaty Lokman however urged the court to instead hand down a severe sentence on grounds that it was a serious and heinous offence committed.
Mas Izzaty said the incident had caused long-lasting trauma to the victim, stressing this was proven during the trial where the victim had testified that she tried to commit suicide twice.
She said the accused had taken advantage of the minor who was weak and was currently under medication.
The accused should be given a severe punishment so that it would serve as a deterrent to others from committing sexual offences, she added.