The IRONY of Malaysian Court of Appeal judges for letting off a national athlete convicted of having sex with a minor

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — The Attorney General should ask the Court of Appeal to review its controversial sentence letting off a national athlete convicted of having sex with a minor instead of sending him into jail, DAP lawmaker Gobind Singh Deo said today. 
The Puchong MP was responding to public outrage over 21-year-old bowling ace, Noor Afizal Azizan, who was released on a RM25,000 bond for good behaviour for the next five years instead of being imprisoned five years after he pleaded guilty to raping a girl three years ago. The girl was 13 at the time of the incident 
“There is the argument that the sentence has failed to send out a correct signal to would be perpetrators of offences of such a nature thereby losing its deterrent effect. 
“This is further compounded by the remarks allegedly made by the Court that a custodial sentence would have a negative impact upon the ‘bright future’ of the accused involved,” Gobind (picture) said in a statement today. 
He demanded a full bench of judges at the Court of Appeal relook a three-man panel’s judgment led by Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Raus Shariff to decide if it was in keeping with the law. 
The opposition federal lawmaker said he would also raise the issue when Parliament resumes next month. 
“The Court must then give full reasons which must be made available to the public for either affirming or setting aside the said decision,” he said. 
“The Attorney General should in the meanwhile also state whether this was a case of plea bargaining. Did he or his office agree to an order to bind over in the Sessions Court to begin with?” he asked. 
Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Raus Sharif who was reported by state news agency Bernama to have agreed with Noor Afizal’s defence lawyer that public interest would not be served if the athlete was sent to jail as he had a bright future. The decision by the three-man panel — delivered last Wednesday — was unanimous. 
The Court of Appeal had ruled to reinstate a Sessions Court sentence to bind over the athlete for good behaviour on a RM25,000 bond for five years after he pleaded guilty to raping the girl, then aged only 13, at a hotel in Ayer Keroh, Malacca at the time of the incident in 2009. Noor Afizal was reported to be 18 then. 
The Malaysian Insider has reported today a raging firestorm online over the court’s message on sex with minors even as it raises questions about the Penal Code and other criminal laws. 
Incensed Malaysians have taken to Twitter and Facebook in the past few days to vent their outrage against the judiciary after the Court of Appeal was reported to have reversed last Wednesday a High Court decision to jail tenpin bowling ace, Noor Afizal Azizan, for five years — suggesting that fame and a bright future is enough to ensure a convicted offender gets a ticket away from jail.

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