Lawyers and public in shock over Datin who escaped doing jail term while AG files a notice of appeal against inadequacy of sentence.
Public outrage has crystallized into a Change.org petition that seeks a higher penalty than a good behaviour bond meted out on a Datin for grievously injuring her teenaged Indonesian maid.
Titled ‘Dato: Equal Justice’, the petition established by ‘Equal Justice for Malaysians’ has racked up 44,218 signatures as at 2pm today and is gunning for 50,000 signatures.
The online petition calls for equal justice for the rich and poor is directed at Prime Minister Najib Razak and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said.
The petition said the offence committed by Datin Rozita Mohd Ali towards her maid was “despicable, inhumane and clearly should result in stricter punishment than a ‘good behaviour bond’”.
“She should be charged with attempted murder or intent to cause serious bodily harm.
“We elected a government that should not have any influence on our justice system.
“Even if she’s a datin, rich and has connections, it doesn’t give her the right to treat people like that.
“What message are we sending to our people and children? Malaysia needs to seriously look at our human rights issues,” the petition reads.
The outpouring of incredulity against the light sentencing spilt over even in the comments section of the petition.
It was reported that Rozita was initially charged with attempted murder of her Indonesian maid, Suyanti Sutrinso, 19, which carries a life imprisonment or 20-year-jail sentence.
However, this was reduced to voluntarily causing grievous hurt, under Section 326 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum 20 years’ jail sentence. She could also have been fined and whipped.
The accused, who pleaded guilty to the lesser offence, admitted to causing multiple injuries, including to the eyes, hands, feet and internal organs of her maid.
She had used a kitchen knife, clothes hanger, steel mop handle and umbrella to inflict the injuries.
Despite the severity of the offence, Sessions judge Mohammed Mokhzani Mokhtar let her off without any jail term and sentenced her to a good behaviour bond of RM20,000 for five years.
This was despite deputy public prosecutor VV Suloshani urging for an appropriate jail sentence on the grounds that the case received widespread coverage by international and local media.
She added that the incident also went viral on social media after a video clip was uploaded on Dec 21, 2016.
The footage shows Suyanti lying seriously injured near a drain at Mutiara Damansara. She was found by a security guard.
Many, including lawyers, had expressed shock and outrage that Rozita was not sent to jail.
Lawyer Ramkarpal Singh said the Sessions Court had erred in meting out the sentence.
“The law no longer provides for a good behaviour bond in cases which involve serious offences, defined in the Penal Code as an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term of 10 years or more,” said Ramkarpal.
He said Section 326, under which Rozita was charged, provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and comes within the definition of a “serious offence”.
Prominent rights lawyer Eric Paulsen questioned the court’s decision despite hearing 10 witnesses, including the victim and doctors who treated her.
“We are unable to see what extenuating circumstances could have made Rozita deserving to be bound over for such a serious offence when she had caused multiple injuries to the victim’s hands, head, legs and internal organs,” said Paulsen, who heads Lawyers for Liberty.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers has filed a notice of appeal against the inadequacy of the sentence.
Earlier report: Mar 15, ‘Datin’ in Horrific Maid Abuse Case Placed on Good Behavior