A housewife who had been thought to be a Datin and who made the headlines after she pleaded guilty to causing grievous hurt to her maid was released on bail yesterday pending appeal of an increased sentence.
Rozita Mohamad Ali, 44, is appealing the eight-year jail sentence by the Shah Alam High Court, which set aside a good behaviour bond meted out earlier by the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court.
She was given a stay of her eight-year jail sentence and freed on a bail of RM25,000 with two sureties pending disposal of her appeal.
Rozita had pleaded guilty before a Sessions Court judge on March 15 to an amended charge of causing grievous hurt to Suyanti Sutrinso, 21, with a kitchen knife, mop, hanger and umbrella at a house in Mutiara Damansara on June 21, 2016.
She was earlier charged with attempted murder.
The Sessions Court sentenced Rozita to be bound over for five years on a good behaviour bond of RM20,000.
However, following public outcry, the Attorney-General filed for a review of the sentence and the Shah Alam High Court on March 29, increased her sentence to an eight-year jail term.
Rozita has been held at the Kajang prison for about two months after the Shah Alam High Court rejected her application for a stay of her jail sentence on March 29 pending the hearing of her appeal against sentence at the Court of Appeal.
A three-man Court of Appeal bench, chaired by Ahmadi Asnawi, allowed Rozita’s application to stay the sentence due to exceptional circumstances.
Ahmadi ordered for her travel documents to be impounded to the court and also required her to report to the Damansara Utama police station every fortnight.
Rozita, attired in a black ‘tudung’ and green ‘baju kurung’, was brought to the court escorted by prison wardens.
Meanwhile, civil society group Tenaganita has voiced its concern over the suspension of Rozita’s jail term.
Its executive director, Glorene A Das, said the social implications of such “a light sentence” should be taken into consideration.
“It is so apparent that we are cultivating a culture of ‘you commit a crime, then plead remorse – and walk free with impunity’,” she said in a statement.
Glorene said cases of abuse of domestic workers should be dealt with extra care as they were increasing in numbers and it was a social issue that should be given high importance.
“The only effective way to do away with serious violence towards any person is for perpetrators to be prosecuted and jailed for lengthy periods of time.
“That is precisely what we expect the judiciary to do but instead the courts seem to take a lenient view of perpetrators who commit crimes of violence, for this is not the first case,” she said.