Trio in ragging case further detained

BINTULU: A court here yesterday sent three former SM Teknik Bintulu students, found guilty of ragging that resulted in the death of their junior, Matteus Merring Augustine, in January 2007 to be further detained in Lambir Prison in Miri.

TO THE CELL: The three accused walk out from the courthouse for Lambir Prison, escorted by policemen.

The three were part of a group of 18 Form 4 and 5 students from the school arrested on Jan 28, 2007 in relation to Merring’s death and charged in court on Jan 18, 2008.

The three accused Valentine Raphael, Sylvester Stallone and Endry Jeff were represented by counsel Stephen Lateng of Hii & Co. Advocates.

The prosecuting officer is Robert Pasang Alam.

Form 4 student Merring, 16, a boarder at the hostel of SM Teknik died after he was ragged by the trio who were Form 5 students aged 16 plus at that time. The ragging took place in the hostel’s reading room between 5pm and 5.30pm.

The victim died shortly after admission to Bintulu Hospital on Jan 27, 2007. The postmortem showed he died from trauma to the chest.

The trio was charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder read with Section 34 (common intention) although the mandatory death penalty was not applicable because of their age.

High Court Judge Sanggau Gunting said in lieu of the death sentence and their age being below 18 years at the time of committing the offence, Section 97(2)(b) of the Child Act 2001 provided that juveniles convicted of murder be detained in prison at the pleasure of the Yang Dipertua Negeri Sarawak.

He said considering submission from all parties, he found that based on the evidence, the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that the three accused had intentionally caused the victim’s injuries which, according to forensic evidence, caused his death.

The judge also said the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubts on the prosecution’s case.

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