PUTRAJAYA; The Court of Appeal has rescheduled to Sept 11 its decision in an appeal brought by a teenager found guilty of the murder of 23 people in a 2017 fire at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz Centre.
The court will also decide on the same day on the prosecution’s appeal against the High Court’s decision to acquit and discharge another teenager for the same offence without calling him to enter his defence.
The court had earlier fixed this Friday (July 14) to give its verdict. This date has been vacated.
The prosecution and the defence in the case have been informed of the change of date via a letter dated June 20.
Lawyer Haijan Omar, when contacted, confirmed the decision date has been rescheduled.
On May 11, a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal comprising Justices Datuk Abu Bakar Jais, Datuk Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali and Datuk See Mee Chun fixed July 14 to give their decision in the appeal after hearing submissions from deputy public prosecutor How May Ling and Haijan, who is representing the two teenagers.
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On Aug 17, 2020, the teenager, now 22, was convicted by the High Court for the murders and ordered to be detained at the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
At the same time, the High Court acquitted and discharge another teenager, also aged 22 now, for the same offence without calling him to enter his defence.
According to the charge, both teenagers, who were 16 years old at the time, together with another unidentified individual, were accused of murdering and causing the death of 23 people staying at the tahfiz centre at Jalan Keramat Hujung, Kampung Datuk Keramat, Wangsa Maju here, between 4.15am and 6.45am on Sept 14, 2017.
At the hearing of the appeals, Haijan had argued that no witness testified that the teenager set fire to the school, adding that the prosecution only relied on circumstantial evidence to support its case.
Meanwhile, in the prosecution’s appeal against the acquittal of the second teenager, DPP How submitted that the fire must have been caused by more than one perpetrator as it was impossible for a 16-year-old boy to lift two gas cylinders weighing 28kg at one go. – Bernama