KOTA KINABALU: A man charged with rape and causing death will continue to serve his 35 years’ jail sentence and six strokes of the cane after the Federal Court here dismissed his appeal for a lenient sentence.
Justices Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong, Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, Tan Sri Hasan Lah, Dato’ Abu Samah Nordin and Dato Azahar Mohamed made the decision on Mohammad Tawakal who was represented by counsel PJ Pereira.
The Apex Court ruled that the interest of the public should be prioritised, other than the seriousness of the offence committed by the appellant.
In September 2010, the High Court had sentenced Mohammad Tawakal to 20 years’ imprisonment after he was found guilty of causing the death of Victoria Paulus, 45, who was a cleaner.
The offence was committed at an unnumbered house behind a timber factory, MQ Wood Product Sdn Bhd in Penampang between 9pm to 11pm at October 16, 2009.
For the alternative offence, the accused was charged under Section 304 (a) of the Penal Code which provides for a jail term of up to 30 years and fine, upon conviction.
The appellant was also given another 15 years and six whippings for raping the victim, at the same time and place, for which he was charged under Section 376 (1) of the same Code, providing a maximum jail term of 20 years and six whippings.
The High Court had ordered for the sentences to be carried out concurrently totalling 20 years ‘jail and six shippings.
However, on May 17, 2012, the Court of Appeal had reversed the decision and ordered the appellant to carry out the sentences consecutively, and three whippings.
Earlier, Pereira said that the Court of Appeal had failed to take into consideration the totality of the sentence as the maximum jail sentence for causing death is 30 years, while the total years of jail the appellant had been served with was 35 years.
Other than that, in ordering the appellant to serve the sentences consecutively, said Pereira, the lower court should have also taken into consideration that although there were two distinct offences, they took place in one transaction as they happened at the same time.