KUCHING: The Sessions Court here yesterday discharged a man charged with statutory rape but not amounting to acquittal.
Judge Afidah Abdul Rahman made the decision after being that told that the accused Ahmad Syukri Yusuf, 28, and the girl, who was also the complainant, had married.
In passing the decision, the judge said, “Since the complainant and the victim of the subject matter of this case wish to withdraw the complaint against the accused on the ground that she is now married to him, there is no necessity to proceed further with this case.”
“Therefore the accused is discharged not amounting to acquittal,” she pointed out.
Ahmad’s lawyer Azam Trudin submitted to the Sessions court that the accused and victim are legally married.
The certificate of their marriage had been tendered to the Court, said Azam.
He also told the court that the parents of the girl had also told the court that they are married.
Ahmad was initially accused of committing the statutory rape twice – firstly around 10am sometime in the middle of October and the other time, around 1pm on Oct 16 last year.
The girl was then 14 when these incidents happened. She is now 15-year-old.
Statutory rape, under Section 376 (1) of the Penal Code, provides for a maximum 20 years’ jail and whipping upon conviction.
DPP Abdul Hafiz Abdul Hamid prosecuted.
Ahmad Shukri’s case is not an isolated one. Now relevant ministries are addressing the issue before it become a rampant social problem.
On Wednesday, Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said one of the challenges faced by her ministry in addressing teenage pregnancies was when the parents of the pregnant teenager wanted her to get married with the accused.
“By right it is statutory rape, but usually the parents do not want to charge the perpetrator because he will go to jail and their daughter will have no husband, while their grandchild will have no father. So that becomes an issue,” she explained.
In Feb 2014, a 41-year-old restaurant manager in Kota Kinabalu was sentenced to 12 years in jail for raping a 12-year-old whom he later married.
Riduan Masmud was charged with rape shortly after the act, but later he told the court that he had married the girl.
The cause caused an outcry and prosecutors continued to pursue the rape charge.
The court in passing the sentence said even though the marriage was still valid, he was still guilty of rape.