Wednesday August 15, 2012
Apply for review of bowler’s rape case decision, A-G urged
By SARBAN SINGH and HAN KAR KAY
SEREMBAN: The Attorney-General should apply for a judicial review of the Court of Appeal's decision to free a 21-year-old national bowler from jail for committing statutory rape.
National Council of Justices of the Peace secretary-general Datuk M. Ramalingam said the Court of Appeal could also on its own review its findings for setting aside the Malacca High Court's order to sentence tenpin bowling ace Noor Afizal Azizan to five years in jail for raping a 13-year-old girl in 2009.
“In this case, the mitigating factor advanced was that public interest would not be served if the offender was sent to jail as he has a bright future as a top athlete.
“Public interest must necessarily serve the interest of the community at large and not the personal interest of an individual no matter how well connected he is or if he is a national sportsman,” he said.
On Thursday, Noor Afizal escaped jail when the Court of Appeal allowed his appeal against a High Court decision to sentence him for statutory rape.
Instead, Noor Afizal, who was 18 when he committed the offence, was bound over for good behaviour for five years.
Court of Appeal president Justice Raus Md Shariff had noted that “public interest would not be served if Noor Afizal was sent to jail as he had a bright future”.
Several organisations, including women's groups, have since urged the judiciary to clarify its judgment.
The Joint Action Group For Gender Equality, a group of six women's organisations, said the judgment appeared to hint at double standards by implying that anyone with the right “credentials” could commit a crime and get away.
Ramalingam said no one deserved preferential treatment in the country's criminal justice system.
In GEORGE TOWN, the Children's Protection Society (CPS) Penang urged the Attorney-General to consider filing an appeal with the Federal Court.
Its president Datuk Seri Nazir Ariff said with or without consent, statutory rape was still regarded as rape.