The two rapists ( in white shirts) Sahrizal (left) and Ariffin (right) with their lawyer (left) after their appeals were thrown out by the High Court.
A High Court judge in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on Wednesday gave an earful to two convicted rapists who were appealing against their more than 20 years jail imposed by a Sessions Court last year.
Judicial Commissioner Abdul Rahman Sebli said the two local men who kidnapped, raped and sexually abused a 20-year-old Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) student last year did not deserve any mercy from the court.
He said whoever committed these kind of acts should not expect any mercy.
The judge made these remarks in affirming the jail sentences and whipping imposed on mechanic Mohd Ariffin Bidin, 29, and unemployed Mohd Sahrizal suhaili, 21, by Sessions Court on April 24, last year.
They had pleaded guilty before Sessions Court judge Duncan Sikodol to kidnapping, raping and sexually abusing the student between 6.50pm on April 15, 2008 and 4am on April 16, 2008 along the Jalan Kota Kinabalu – Tambunan – Keningau.
Ariffin was sentenced to 23 years jail and ordered to be given 25 strokes of the cane while Sahrizal was put behind bars for 20 years plus 20 whipping.
Both of them appealed for reduction of their respective imprisonment and whipping.
Abdul Rahman, in affirming the prison sentences to he appellants, however, reduced the whipping for Ariffin from 25 strokes to 24 only.
He said the sentences imposed on both appellants were appropriate as violence was used on the victim and in committing the offences there was a complete disregard on the safety of the student.
Counsel Ram Singh, who represented both appellants on pro bono basis, told the court that the prison sentences imposed on Ariffin and Sahrizal were too excessive.
He urged the court to consider that Sahrizal, who was 20 years old on the crime committed, had pleaded guilty to all charges framed against him.
Ram urged the court to consider that both Ariffin and Sahrizal had pleaded guilty to all charges framed against them when they were first brought to the court.
“The court should look into the totality of the prison sentences imposed on them, despite the heinous act, the guilty plea should be taken into consideration similar with the other serious cases such as murder, “ the counsel said.
Submitting on Ariffin’s appeal for his 25 whipping to be reduced, Ram told the court that whipping was illegal if it exceeded 24 strokes. The counsel said this was provided for under Section 288(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Jamil Aripin urged the court not to disturb the sentences on both appellants except for the caning on Ariffin, which the prosecution conceded with the appellant’s counsel submission.
Jamil submitted that the sentence imposed by the Sessions Court judge was not manifestly excessive stating that the maximum set under Section 376(2) of the Penal Code under the latest amendment on Sept 7, 2007 is 30 years imprisonment for rape that caused hurt to victim.
He urged the court not to disturb the imprisonment sentences imposed by the Sessions Court as the sentences reflected the gravity of offences committed by the appellants, adding that the sentences commensurate with the offences and not manifestly wrong.
He said based on the facts of case which were presented in Sessions Court, the manner in which the offences committed clearly showed that not only the appellants sexually abused the victim but they also beat and bit her.
“The multiple injury inflicted on the victim as stated in the medical report proved that brutality was used in the commission of the offence, “ the DPP said.
He also submitted that the effect of the case had created anxiety to a lot of parents the safety of their children.
“The manner of the offences committed which were published in the newspapers had not only outrage the feeling of community but also caused public anxiety and worry about their children safety.
“Since both appellants were not sentence to a maximum sentence, it could not be said that the sentences were manifestly excessive.
He further submitted that public interest demand deterrent sentence imposed on sexual offenders and the sentences meted out must reflect the society disdain for such crime.
The DPP said public interest demand that the court must showed this abhorrent toward the sexual offences and one of the was to impose a deterrent sentence to offenders.
“Both appellants deserves no mercy from this court for what they had done and public must be protected against this kind of offenders in order to deter other would be offenders,” Jamil said.
With their appeal dismissed by the High Court, Ariffin will now have to serve 33 years and eight months behind bars and Sahrizal, 29 years and two months as the prison sentences they appealed are to run consecutively with sentences imposed by the Magistrate’s Court charges of kidnapping, causing grievous hurt to the student and also car thefts.
Both appellants were jailed five years and fined RM1,000 in default five months jail each for kidnapping the student and were handed another five years and five strokes of the cane for assaulting the victim which were to run concurrently but to be served consecutively with the prison sentences imposed by the Sessions Court.
In Magistrate’s Court, Ariffin was handed 51 months for three car thefts while Sahrizal was jailed three years and 14 months for two car thefts which were ordered to run consecutively with those meted by the Sessions Court.