KOTA KINABALU: A contractor will spend the next eight years in prison for stealing a smartphone of a man in front of the Kota Kinabalu Courthouse.
Muswani Hamsita pleaded guilty before Sessions Court judge Azreena Aziz to committing the offence at 7.45pm on February 4.
The 37-year-old accused had stolen the smartphone of Calvin Wong, 23, which was an offence framed under Section 392 of the Penal Code and carried a maximum prison term of 14 years as well as a fine or whipping upon conviction.
Based on the facts of the case, Muswani had stopped Calvin in front of the courthouse and took his smartphone.
He had later asked Calvin to come along with him to the KK Market. There, Calvin had flagged a police car and asked for help.
Muswani had attempted to flee, but he was caught by the police.
During mitigation, Muswani asked for leniency, stating that he had to take care of his wife, who was five months’ pregnant.
He claimed that he did not have a paying job as his employer had fled to Sarawak, while promising that he would not commit such a crime again.
Deputy public prosecutor Dominic Chew Ban Huat, who prosecuted, asked that a deterrent sentence be meted out on the accused due to the rampancy of robbery.
Dominic further argued that a deterrent sentence would teach Muswani a lesson, while saying, “The accused should have used his abilities to find a job, and not resort to crime.”
Public interest, Dominic contested, should also be taken into consideration by the court when passing sentence.
The same court then sentenced 17 men to between four to five months’ imprisonment for illegally entering the state.
Out of the 17, 14 of them were given one stroke of the cane before Azreena ordered all of them to be referred to the Immigration Department for further action.
The offence, framed under Section 6 of the Immigration Act 1959/63, carries a maximum fine of RM10,000, or a prison term not exceeding six years, and not less than six strokes of the cane.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Sabrina Jinnus, who prosecuted, asked that all of them be given deterrent sentences and they should be referred to the Immigration Department.