The prosecution’s appeal against a High Court’s decision to acquit a woman accused of murdering her domestic maid has been set for case management on March 4 to enable the woman to engage a lawyer to represent her.
Deputy registrar Darmafikri Abu Adam set the date in chambers after the case was sent for case management today.
Lawyer Lim Wei Qi, who is holding a watching brief for the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Penang, told reporters that S Ambika was unrepresented and she sought time to engage a lawyer.
“She is currently unrepresented. But because the case carries a mandatory death penalty sentence, she must be represented by a lawyer.
“Her daughter requested two months for them to appoint a lawyer.
“With or without a lawyer, she (Ambika) must be present in court on March 4,” said Lim.
Earlier today, Ambika appeared weak as she walked into the courtroom. She was later seen being accompanied by her daughter and left the Palace of Justice complex in a wheelchair.
Deputy public prosecutor Dhiya Syazwani Izyan Mohd Akhir informed the three-member panel that they were able to locate Ambika and she was present in court today.
Previously, the prosecution was unable to serve Ambika the letter to notify her to attend court.
Justice Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer, who presided with Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail and Datuk Abu Bakar Jais, subsequently instructed the case to go for case management before the deputy registrar.
In April, last year, the High Court in Penang acquitted Ambika, 61, of murdering her domestic worker Adelina Lisao, 26, an Indonesian national, at her house in Taman Kota Permai, Bukit Mertajam, Penang on February 10, 2018.
Adelina succumbed to multiple organ failure following alleged abuse.
In his judgment, the High Court judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir said Ambika was set free mid-trial as the deputy public prosecutor did not offer valid grounds for requesting a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA).
He said the defence lawyer had urged the court to grant an acquittal, citing the accused’s age and failing health, under Section 254 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, adding that under that section, it was clear that the court had in certain circumstances the discretion to order an acquittal instead of DNAA.
Tenaganita project manager Fajar Santoadi, who was also present, said the migrant rights group would continue to monitor the proceedings in hope to uphold justice for Adelina and her family.