Indonesian embassy staff says no signs maid was guided during call alleging rape.
The lead prosecutor in Paul Yong’s rape trial, Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Jamil Aripin today told the Ipoh High Court that the team is going to apply for Witness Protection Act (WPA) 2009 for two of their witnesses.
Jamil informed the Judge Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed during the trial that two of their witnesses are participants in the Witness Protection Programme (WPP) under the WPA.
“We want the two witnesses to give their statements under Section 256A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
“Both have intended to give statements via camera in an open court without the presence of the public and media and also they did not want their identities disclosed to the accused and his lawyers,” he told the court.
Judge Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed said the decision would only be made after the defence completes its submission.
“The case can continue with the other witnesses first and any identification involving the two witnesses can be reserved at the moment,” he said on Tuesday (April 6).
Counsel Datuk Rajpal Singh said he was surprised by the prosecution’s sudden submission.
He said they would be objecting to it.
“The victim is not a child and we are okay for her to give evidence in camera and the public gallery is emptied.
“However, we will make our submission over the matter,” he said.
“The WPA is not necessary as we were served with an affidavit by the prosecution team which have both the witness’s name on it. So, I don’t know where the prosecution is trying to go,” he said.
“The first witness, however, can be done on camera without being visible to our client since the witness is the victim, but we should be able to cross-examine the witness. That’s our right,” he added.
Abdul Wahab then ordered the prosecution team to continue the trial with the remaining witnesses.
Earlier, when Yong, 51, arrived at the court at about 8.45am, he was greeted with cheers by some 30 supporters comprising people of various races and age groups who had come in a bus.
The first to take the witness stand was P Paul Vethamuthu and he was followed by constable Nik Zamri Ismail, a photographer from the Ipoh district police headquarters who took photographs of the location of the incident, case exhibits and related investigation matters.
In the afternoon, another witness was called, that is Riki Sapari, 39, who received a telephone call from the victim at the Complaints Division, Manpower Department of the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur at about 11am on July 8, 2019.
Under cross-examination by Jamil, Riki, an employee at the labour division’s complaints section, said there was nothing to suggest that the Indonesian maid allegedly raped by the Tronoh state assemblyman was helped by someone when she lodged her complaint over the telephone.
Riki said he received the victim’s complaint at the manpower department of the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur about 11am on July 8, 2019.
“There were no signs or other (background) noises when the victim spoke to me,” he said when Jamil asked if there were indications that the victim was with another person when speaking to him.
Riki said the victim appeared to be crying and in a state of panic and fear when talking to him on the phone.
On why Riki wrote in his report that the maid had been sexually harassed (pelecehan) instead of raped when she clearly told him in the conversation that she had been raped, Riki said he used the word as it covered all sexual activities, including rape.
He also said when he received the complaint, he was not in the position to ascertain whether penetration or another form of sexual assault had occurred.
“I, at that moment, was not in the position to decide whether it was rape as in penetration or other forms, and because of that, I informed the police so that they could investigate immediately,” he said.
Jamil was assisted by deputy public prosecutors Liyana Zawani Mohd Radzi and Ainul Wardah Shahidan prosecuted while the defence team comprised lawyers Datuk Rajpal Singh and Salim Bashir.
After the first day’s hearing, which lasted about six hours, the court set trial to continue at 10am tomorrow.
On Dec 21 last year, the High Court set the trial for nine days beginning March 30 this year after Yong, 51, pleaded not guilty to a charge of raping his maid at his house in Meru Desa Park on July 7, 2019, between 8.15pm and 9.15pm, but it was postponed to today.
The case had been mentioned in the Sessions Court but on Dec 15 last year the Federal Court allowed an application by the defence to transfer the case to the High Court.
Yong was first charged in the Sessions Court here on Aug 23, 2019, when he was the state housing, local government, public transport, non-Islamic affairs and new village committee chairperson.
Earlier report: Apr 6, Paul Yong’s rape trial begins