KUCHING: The Court of Appeal here has set aside a 115-year prison sentence imposed on a man who raped and molested his daughter and replaced the sentence with a 45-year prison sentence yesterday.
A three-judge panel, consisting of judges Datuk Yaacob Md Sam, Datuk Lee Swee Seng and Datuk Supang Lian, unanimously accepted the appeal of the 52-year-old man, but maintained the sentence of 20 lashes imposed on the accused previously.
“Section 289 (c) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) stipulates that caning cannot be imposed on offenders 50 years and above. However, the accused was 50 years old when the sentence was passed.
“Therefore, the court is of the opinion that this sentence should be maintained,” said Yaacob during the proceedings which were conducted online through video conferencing yesterday.
According to the charge, the accused, who is a farmer, raped his daughter for the first time when the 12-year-old was at a hut in an oil palm plantation in Kabong in September 2014.
The offence was repeated until the victim reached the age of 15 and was committed in several places such as a hotel in Saratok and a bedroom in their home in a village in Kabong, in 2015 and 2017.
The accused was also charged with raping the victim while they were in a car park at a side of a road in Kampung Sebuyau, Sri Aman in July 2017, and in a house toilet the same year.
In September 2017, the accused, who pleaded guilty when charged with five charges under Section 376B (1) of the Penal Code for rape, was sentenced to 22 years’ imprisonment and four strokes of the cane for each charge.
The Sessions Court at that time ordered the sentences to proceed concurrently.
For the charge under Section 354 of the Penal Code for molestation, he was jailed for five years.
However, the prosecution later appealed the conviction and the High Court set a jail sentence for successive sentences, resulting in the accused facing up to 115 years in prison.
A lawyer from the National Legal Aid Foundation (YBGK) who represented the accused, Simon Siah, however, said in his submission that the previous sentence imposed on the accused should be carried out simultaneously taking into account the age of the accused.
“Based on the percentage and statistics, the average life expectancy of men in the country is about 70 years. The accused is now 52 and may not live long enough to serve the sentence,” said Siah during the proceedings.
The prosecution yesterday was conducted by Deputy Public Prosecutor, Tengku Intan Suraya Tengku Ismail.