A college student was charged at her bedside at the Penang Hospital today with murdering her newborn last Friday.
No plea was recorded from M Santhiea, who turned 18 in April this year.
She was alleged to have committed the offence at the driveway leading to the fourth-floor parking lot of Sri Ivory Apartment in Air Itam at about 8.25am on July 10.
She was charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries the mandatory death penalty upon conviction.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yazid Mustaqim Roslan prosecuted, while the four-man defence team was led by RSN Rayer.
The proceedings before magistrate Nur Fadrina Zulkhair took about one hour.
Nur Fadrina fixed Aug 14 for mention pending a pathology report.
Speaking to newsmen outside the ward after the proceedings, Yazid said the court had given the prosecution one month to obtain the pathology report.
He also said that the defence had requested the court to grant bail, citing one of the most recent cases where the Federal Court had granted Samirah Muzaffar, widow of the late Cradle Fund chief executive officer Nazrin Hassan, RM500,000 bail with several conditions pending her murder trial.
“We, however, raised the issue as to whether the magistrate has the jurisdiction to decide on the matter or whether it is the High Court.
“The magistrate was of the view that, at this point in time, it does not have the jurisdiction to hear the bail application. At the same time, the magistrate also referred the matter to the High Court to determine the point of law.
“The magistrate has the power to refer the matter to the High Court when in doubt for clarification of a point of law,” he said.
Yazid said the accused was currently under custody in hospital as she still needed treatment due to her condition.
Meanwhile, Rayer said that in seeking bail for his client, he had referred to Samirah’s case, where she was granted bail by the Federal Court pending her murder trial.
“We argued that being a woman and also someone who needed medical treatment because of the complications of her childbirth, our client should be granted bail despite facing a murder charge.
“The magistrate agreed that bail could be considered but said that she might not have the jurisdiction. So, I have asked the magistrate to refer the matter to the High Court and had agreed to do so.
“If the magistrate is in doubt whether she can grant bail or not, to be certain, under the provisions, she can refer the matter to the High Court,” he said, adding that he had asked for the process to be expedited.
Asked on the condition of his client, Rayer said she appeared very weak.
“We all know that the child (in this case) was accidentally delivered in the toilet.
“So, I am very certain that she needs extreme medical care and attention, therefore she is here. She looks very weak,” he added.
Rayer said he was also thankful to the court that his client would continue to be treated at the hospital until her bail application was heard.
It was reported that a newborn was flung out of a 13th floor apartment unit in Farlim last Friday, believed to be by her teenage mother.
The girl and her 18-year-old boyfriend, with whom she admitted having sexual intercourse, were detained soon after the incident to assist in investigations.
She had apparently kept the pregnancy a secret from her family.
Police were alerted to the incident at about 8.25am by a resident at the apartment block who had stumbled upon the dead baby girl on the fourth-floor parking lot.
Following investigation, the girl revealed that she had woken up at 6am last Friday with a stomach-ache, and about 30 minutes later, she went to the bathroom to try to defecate.
While she was pushing, the baby fell into the toilet bowl. She heard the baby’s cries.
She then wrapped the baby in the T-shirt she was wearing before throwing her out of the back window.
The baby’s body was badly mutilated by the impact of the fall. – NST