The Federal Court today upheld a High Court’s decision to acquit and discharge a housewife on a charge of murdering her Indonesian maid four years ago.
A three-member panel comprising Justices Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, Datuk Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal and Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang dismissed the prosecution’s appeal to overturn the High Court’s decision.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar appearing for the prosecution wanted the court to give S Ambika a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA).
In the court’s decision, Justice Vernon, who chaired the panel, said that the High Court judge had exercised his discretion correctly to acquit and discharge Ambika.
He said the prosecution must give reasons on why it did not want to proceed with its case.
“We scrutinised the appeal records, there was no reason given by the prosecution (in the High Court),” Justice Vernon said, adding that a DNAA order could only be given if a good reason was provided.
A person who is acquitted and discharged for an offence cannot be charged again for the same offence while for a DNAA order, a person may be charged again at a later date.
Ambika, 62, was accused of murdering Adelina Lisao, 28, at her home in Medan Kota Permai 2, Bukit Mertajam, Penang on February 10, 2018. On April 18, 2019, the High Court acquitted and discharged her although the prosecution had requested for a DNAA. The prosecution lost its appeal which was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 2020.
Earlier, in today’s court proceedings, Mohd Dusuki had argued that the deputy public prosecutor handling the matter had requested for DNAA and told the High Court that she received instructions from her superiors not to proceed with the case at that juncture.
Mohd Dusuki said there were no valid reasons given by High Court judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir to acquit and discharge Ambika.
Lawyer Datuk Baldev Singh Bhar representing Ambika, said the High Court was right to acquit and discharge Ambika and urged the court to dismiss the prosecution’s appeal.
Evidence presented in the court showed that Y Anbananthan, another lawyer for Ambika, had submitted a representation to the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) on April 4, 2019 after three prosecution witnesses testified.
On April 18, 2019, the deputy public prosecutor informed the High Court judge that she did not want to proceed with the trial at that juncture and she could not give reason for asking for DNAA which led to the judge to acquit and discharge Ambika under Section 254 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Deputy public prosecutors Ku Hayati Ku Haron and Nahra Dollah also appeared for the prosecution.