Couple charged with abusing boy let off on a technicality

Discharged: Nagendran and Sangeetha walking out of the court building in Johor Baru after the verdict. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

JOHOR BARU: A couple charged with abusing their four-year-old boy who later died have been given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the Sessions Court here over a technicality.

The boy’s stepfather S. Nagendran and his mother A. Sangeetha, both 23, had been charged on May 3 with acting negligently towards a child in their care to the extent that it caused him physical injury.

The two had allegedly committed the offence at the Skudai Villa Apartment, Jalan Aman, Taman Skudai Baru, here at 12.30am on April 29.

According to the charge sheet, the act is an offence under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2011 that was read together with Section 34 of the Penal Code, which provides for a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or a maximum jail term of 20 years, or both, if convicted.

The accused claimed trial to these charges yesterday in front of judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Arifin Ismail after earlier pleading guilty on May 3.

During yesterday’s proceedings, Ahmad Kamal said the prosecution had included two distinct offences in one charge, which is duplicity.

The court then ordered the accused to be discharged but not acquitted.

Umar Faiz Abdul Kohar and Noor Idayu Salim appeared for the prosecution while lawyer Tuan Nur Izza Natasha Tuan Rosidi represented the couple.

It was reported that a four-year-old boy died on April 29 after he was believed to have been physically abused by his mother and stepfather.

Iskandar Puteri police chief Asst Comm Rahmat Ariffin was quoted as saying that the child was rushed to Hospital Sultanah Aminah but was pronounced dead on arrival at the emergency department at 8.20am.

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