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Judicial CP - July 1998

Borneo Bulletin, Bandar Seri Begawan, 29 July 1998

Court reduces knife attacker's jail term

By Ignatius Stephen

The Court of Appeal has reduced the sentence of Pg. Hj. Amir Hamzah Omarali Saifuddin bin Pg. Hj. Mohd. Yusof, 25, convicted of stabbing a security guard, from 11 years' imprisonment to eight years in jail. The mandatory minimum 12 strokes of rotan will remain.

The Appellate Court, comprising President Kutlu Tekin Fuad, Sir Allan Huggins and Sir Derek Cons, heard that in the early hours of January 13 last year, the accused went to the Gadong Properties Building, Bandar Seri Begawan, and stabbed a security officer with a knife and took away two Radio Walkie-Talkies.

Pg. Hj. Amir Hamzah was charged with four offences before Commissioner R.G. Penlington who found him guilty and sentenced him to a total term of 12 years' imprisonment and 12 strokes of rotan.

The Judge remarked that the accused made "an entirely gratuitous attack on an unarmed security on hand with a knife in order to steal property in his custody."

The four charges the accused was convicted of were voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery, possession of unlawful weapon in public, voluntary causing hurt to the guard and presenting as a public servant. Counsel for the accused, Mr. Geoffrey Sim, argued against the conviction and sentence in the Court of Appeal.

Mr Sim argued that there were insufficient facts to support the charges of robbery and that there were serious discrepancies in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses.

The Deputy Public Prosecutor, Haji Nabil bin Pehin Dato Hj. Badaruddin, argued that there was sufficient evidence for the trial judge to convict the accused on the charges and that the accused had a fair trial.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on conviction stating that the accused was rightly convicted on all the charges.

On the sentence of 11 years in jail and 12 strokes of rotan, the Court of Appeal agreed with the submission of Mr. Sim that the trial judge made an error in thinking that there was a minimum sentence for Section 394 of the Penal Code, when in fact there was none.

In the circumstances, the Court of Appeal decided what was the appropriate sentence and reduced the imprisonment from 11 to eight years. The 12 strokes of rotan remain unchanged.

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