Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Ex-Minister convicted

The Kota Kinabalu High Court today convicted Sabah Ex-Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Conrad Mojuntin and nephew David Mojuntin of the two criminal charges which the Magistrate's Court on March 31, this year gave them a discharged and acquittal.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli in allowing the appeal by public prosecutor against the acquittal of both the Mojuntins, held that the magistrate had seriously misdirected himself when he ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

“I, therefore, set aside his (magistrate) order of acquittal and substitute it with an order of conviction on both charges against the first respondent and on the joint charge against the first and second respondents, “ he said.

Abdul Rahman, however, deferred sentencing to Jan 2, 2009.

Conrad, 60, was charged with criminally intimidating businessman Doughty Disimon, 30, outside the SJD Café and Sports at 3.30am on Oct 23, 2005 behind the Public Bank, Donggongon Penampang.

The offence under Section 506 of the Penal Code carries a jail term of up to two years or fine or both on conviction.

The ex-minister was also jointly charged with David, 44, for voluntarily causing hurt to Chee Hee Fatt, 45, at 4am on Oct 23, 2005, also at the same place.

The offence under Section 323 of the Penal Code read with Section 34 of the same Code provides a jail term of up to one year of both.

The prosecution had appealed to the High Court against the Mojuntins' acquittal on March 31, 2008.

In mitigation, Zahir Hussein Ahmad Shah, submitted that the fact of the case clearly showed that the offences were not meditated and prayed that the court to only impose fine on both respondents on ground that imprisonment would not reflect the circumstances of the case.

Zahir added that both respondents had no previous conviction and prayed the court justice of mercy in passing sentence.

Earlier, in the morning session, Senior Federal Counsel Salim Soib Hamid submitted, among others, that he had received the respondents’ written submission which cited several decided case in the Court of Appeal, that did not disturb the decision of lower courts.

However, he said there were exemption when a mistake of finding of facts took place as had happened in the present case.

“This Court can alter the finding of facts decision made by the learned magistrate,” Salim said, adding that the defence submission by the respondent was very fragile.

Salim prayed for the court to dismiss the decision made by the Magistrate’s Court, saying that there was a major mistake in the magistrate’s judgement. He urged the court to substitute it with a suitable judgement.

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