PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal here has restored a Sessions Court decision sentencing a trader to 10 years' imprisonment for the physical sexual assault of his 12-year-old stepdaughter.
The 40-year-old man will also be given four strokes of the cane.
This followed a decision by a three-man bench comprising Justices Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, Datuk Azhahari Kamal Ramli and Datuk SM Komathy Suppiah in allowing the prosecution’s appeal to restore the lower court's decision.
The prosecution’s appeal was against a High Court decision which had reduced the man’s jail sentence to seven years.
Justice Vazeer said the High Court made an error when reducing the prison sentence from 10 years to seven.
He said the seven-year sentence was low and that the High Court should consider the relationship between the victim and the offender.
Considering the trend of sentencing, a 10-year imprisonment sentence is appropriate, he said.
On July 15, 2021, the man pleaded guilty to two counts of committing physical sexual assault on the Year Six student in a house in Banting, Selangor on April 17 and May 9 the same year.
The Sessions Court sentenced him to 10 years in jail with two strokes of the cane for each count.
He was ordered to serve the sentences concurrently.
The charge was framed under Section 14(a) of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 and read together with Section 16(1) of the same law. Section 14 (a) provides a maximum jail sentence of 20 years and whipping, upon conviction.
On June 28 last year, the High Court allowed the man’s appeal and reduced his jail term to seven years. The court maintained the whipping sentence.
This prompted the prosecution to file an appeal against the reduction.
Deputy public prosecutor P. Sarulatha said the High Court did not take into account Section 16 (1) of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 201.
The section states that a person in a relation of trust with the child, in addition to the punishment to which he is liable for such offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years in jail and shall be punished with whipping of no fewer than two strokes.
Lawyer Muhamad Izwan Ishak from the National Legal Aid Foundation, who represented the trader, urged the court to maintain the reduced jail term.
He cited a case where an accused person facing similar charges was sentenced to eight years in jail by the Ipoh High Court. – Bernama