SEREMBAN: The trial of celebrity preacher Azman Syah Alias who is facing five charges of committing physical sexual assault on two teenage boys will be heard at the Sessions Court here over five days beginning July 24.
Judge Surita Budin decided this after the defence team said they needed more time to submit a representation to the Attorney General's Chambers regarding similar charges faced by the accused at the Klang, Shah Alam and Ampang courts.
Lawyer Mohamad Zahid Ahmad told the court that his team intended to submit a representation for all 12 charges faced by the accused in the four courts at one go.
"We have yet to receive the documents on all charges faced by the accused from the courts and once we receive these, only then we will submit the representation.
"This is important because some of the alleged victims or complainants are the same individuals although my client has been charged in different courts (in Negri Sembilan and Selangor)," he said, adding that it was also important to help establish if the cases were connected.
The 41-year-old Azman, popularly known as PU Azman, had on Oct 12 last year claimed trial to five charges at the court here.
For the first three charges, he was accused of committing the offence against a 17-year-old at a house in Taman Tiara Sendayan near here.
The offences were allegedly committed between 3am and 5am on July 6.
For the other two charges, he allegedly committed the same offence against a victim aged 16 years and 10 months old on the same day and between 8.30pm and midnight on Feb 5.
The alleged assaults were committed in the same house.
He was charged under Section 14 (a) of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 which provides imprisonment not exceeding 20 years and whipping, upon conviction.
He has been out on a RM40,000 bail since.
Following the application from the defence team Tuesday (Jan 31), Judge Surita also fixed May 25 to hear the outcome of the representation.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Hafizah Zainul Hashimi also told the court her team intends to call between 10 and 12 witnesses to testify in the case.
These include the victims, their parents and the investigating officers.
When met outside the court later, Mohamad Zahid told reporters that the prosecution had also agreed to the defence team's move to file a single representation involving all 12 charges faced by the accused at four separate courts.
"This is also to make it easier for them to study the representation as the alleged victims in some cases are the same individuals.
"That is why we need to get all the relevant documents from all four courts first before we submit a representation," he added.