Zayn Rayyan's murder: Parents claim trial to child neglect charge

PETALING JAYA: The parents of autistic child Zayn Rayyan Abdul Matiin, who was found dead near a stream last year, have been charged at the Sessions Court with child negligence.

Zaim Ikhwan Zahari and Ismanira Abdul Manaf, both 29, pleaded not guilty after the charge was read out before Sessions Court judge Dr Syahliza Warnoh here on Thursday (June 13).

According to the charge sheet, the couple were jointly charged, as persons having the care of Zayn Rayyan, to have neglected him in a manner likely to cause him physical injury.

ALSO READ : Zayn Rayyan’s murder: Grandparents to be released on police bail

The offence was allegedly committed around Jalan PJU, Damansara Damai, near here, between 12pm on Dec 5 and 9.55pm on Dec 6, last year.

The couple was charged under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001, read together with Section 34 of the Penal Code, and face a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment of up to 20 years or both, upon conviction.

They said they understood the charge and pleaded not guilty.

Just before the charge was read out, the interpreter asked Zaim Ikhwan and Ismanira if they were well, to which Zaim Ikhwan said he was under the weather.

Ismanira said she was unwell and had vomited.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ku Hayati Ku Haron offered bail at RM15,000 in one surety for each of the accused.

She also asked for the court to impose additional conditions for their passports to be impounded and to report to the nearest police station monthly.

ALSO READ: Infographic: The twists and turns of the Zayn Rayyan case

Lawyer Fahmi Abdul Moin, who represented Zaim Ikhwan, said bail was only to secure attendance and should not be punitive.

"If the accused persons are not able to pay bail, this does not align with the principle of innocent until proven guilty.

"We ask for a RM5,000 bail. We have no issues with the additional conditions," he said.

Fahmi also said the couple's lives had changed 180 degrees after the incident that robbed them of their son.

"They searched and searched and on Dec 6, Zayn was found dead," the lawyer said.

Meanwhile, Ismanira's lawyer Mahmud Jumaat adopted Fahmi's mitigation for his client and confirmed that Ismanira was jobless.

"She is suffering from a severe depression that renders her unable to work.

"At the same time, she is trying to get treatment for her other son who has speech delay and severe autism," Mahmud said.

In her reply, DPP Ku Hayati said the couple were facing a serious charge with heavy punishment.

She sought the court to consider that the effect of the neglect, which the couple was accused of, had resulted in Zayn Rayyan's death.

Judge Dr Syahliza fixed bail at RM10,000 in one surety each and allowed additional conditions.

The accused persons were to report themselves at the nearest police station and not to harass the prosecution witnesses.

No conditions were imposed on the passports as the court was informed that the travel documents have expired.

The case is fixed for mention on July 26.

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