Justice finally done!
- Camera-shy ‘Datin’ concealed face from public view
- Arrived in court with a platoon of lawyers
- High Court ruled good behaviour bond incorrect
- Jail sentence to start today
- Defence to appeal
The Shah Alam High Court here reversed the punishment meted out by the Sessions Court to a woman, described as a “Datin”, who had physically abused her maid.
On March 15, Petaling Jaya Sessions Court judge Mohammed Mokhzani Mokhtar let Rozita Mohamad Ali off with a mere good behaviour bond of five years, even though the prosecution had pressed for a jail sentence considering the severity of the crime.
Judicial commissioner Tun Majid Tun Hamzah, in allowing the review of deputy public prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad, ruled that the good behaviour bond imposed by the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court earlier this month was incorrect.
“I am of the view that the lower court has wrongly exercised its discretion in imposing the bond.
“This court’s order does not reflect the seriousness of this offence,” he said.
Majid also noted that the maid’s decision to withdraw her police complaint should not have been taken into consideration by the Sessions Court when deciding on Rozita’s sentence.
“Once a police report has been lodged, regardless whether the report has been withdrawn, it is no longer considered her case but a case by the state.
“Then it is up to the attorney-general to pursue the case against the alleged perpetrators if there is sufficient evidence,” he said.
The court added that Suyanti had been employed as a domestic worker, not a slave.
Setting aside the Sessions Court order, Majid sentenced Rozita, 44, to eight years in jail for causing grievous hurt to her domestic helper Suyanti Sutrinso, 21, at a house in Mutiara Damansara on June 21, 2016.
Counsel Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who represented the accused, pleaded for the minimum sentence on the grounds that his client is a housewife.
He said his client was willing to have her passport impounded and to adhere to any other additional conditions imposed.
However, DPP Iskandar pressed for a deterrent sentence, stating that the case involved the public interest.
“This case also (strained) diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Indonesia,” he said.
Refusing an application for stay of execution by Haniff, Majid ordered Rozita to serve her jail sentence from today.
The defence lawyer said they had been instructed to appeal against the jail sentence.
Clad in all-black, Rozita had arrived at the court with her team of lawyers at about 8.55am.
The media had been on tenterhooks for her arrival this morning, as she had failed to show up for a review of her sentence last week.
She appeared calm on hearing the court’s decision and had an in-depth discussion with her platoon of lawyers.
Before she was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom towards the courthouse lockup, Rozita pinned part of her sequinned and beaded headscarf to cover the lower part of her face, leaving only her forehead and part of her trimmed eyebrows visible.
Though she had briefly shown her face while she was in the dock, she was seen making an effort to cover her face from public view throughout the morning, either with a pair of sunglasses or lifting up the ends of her headscarf.
Rozita was initially charged under Section 307 of the Penal Code with attempted murder, which was later amended to Section 326 of the Penal Code for causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means.
She had pleaded guilty to the charge.
She had used a kitchen knife, a steel mop and an umbrella to attack her maid Suyanti at a house in Mutiara Damansara on June 21, 2016, causing multiple injuries to the victim’s head, hands, legs and internal organs.
She was bound over for five years on a good behaviour bond of RM20,000 on March 15 by Sessions Court judge Mohammed Mokhzani Mokhtar.
However, the lenient sentence was criticised by members of the public who demanded she be duly dealt with for abusing Suyanti, while an online petition against the court’s sentence attracted over 70,000 signatures.