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Friday, May 13, 2022

Bail allowed for teen charged with murdering newborn


The 15-year-old girl has been released on bail of RM20,000 in one surety. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has allowed bail for a teenager charged with murdering her new born son, pending disposal of the case.

A three-member bench chaired by Yaacob Md Sam said there was merit in the application filed by the girl, now 15 years and two months old.

She was charged with murdering her newborn baby on Feb 8 at a house in Seri Bandi, Kemaman, Terengganu.

“There are special circumstances to allow this bail application,” said Yaacob, who sat with judges Ahmad Nasfy Yasin and Hasim Hamzah.

The girl, who is undergoing psychiatric evaluation at Hospital Permai in Johor Bahru, was present together with her 47-year-mother, a hotel employee.

Yaacob said bail of RM20,000 has to be posted in court in one surety.

The girl and the bailor must also report to the Cukai police station by the first week of every month.

The bench also ordered them to be present during all proceedings unless the court decides otherwise.

She is also barred from going overseas unless with the approval of the court where her case is being conducted.

The bail conditions will come into effect after her release from the hospital next month.

In March, the Kuala Terengganu High Court refused bail for the girl, a school dropout, leading to the application being filed in the Court of Appeal.

The teenager, then 14 years and 11 months old, was charged at the Kemaman magistrates’ court for murdering her newborn baby on Feb 8 at a house in Seri Bandi, Kemaman.

Her bail application was rejected by the magistrate and the High Court but the judge made an order that she be sent for psychiatric evaluation.

When the case attracted public attention, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had on Feb 18 said that it was not too late to review the murder charge against the girl.

In a statement, the AGC said that it can still revise the decision to charge the teenager for murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code based on new information.

“The prosecution can still assess and review the charge for murder made under Section 302 and revise it accordingly, taking into account recent developments including the results of an investigation done into a rape incident involving the teenager,” it said.

Today, lawyer Ramkarpal Singh submitted that bail should be given as she is a victim of rape and sexual exploitation who needs protection.

“There is no reasonable ground for her to commit murder. At best she might have committed infanticide (killing a newborn baby) that carries a maximum 20-year jail term,” he said.

Ramkarpal said she fulfilled the requirements for bail under the Criminal Procedure Code as she is below 16, a woman and possibly sick and infirmed.

“She is currently under psychiatric observation and the extended evaluation at the hospital will end on May 22,” said Ramkarpal, who was assisted by Sangeet Kaur Deo and Harshaan Zamani.

Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Eyu Ghim Siang said that in the girl’s best interest, she should be kept at a government welfare home and bail should be disallowed.

However, Sangeet told the judges that the girl’s mother was not allowed access to her even when she was at a welfare home.

“The deterioration of her mental state will be detrimental to her emotional state,” she said, adding that welfare officers could conduct spot checks whenever she was with the mother. - FMT

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