KUCHING, Jan 13 ― The High Court here today increased the fine of RM100 meted out to a youth to RM1,000, for violating the movement control order (MCO) by leaving his house to carry his girlfriend’s body to a garage near her home, after being involved in a road accident last year.
Judge Datuk Zainal Azman Ab Aziz made the ruling after allowing the prosecution’s appeal against the RM100 fine imposed on the 17-year-old by the Rompin Magistrate’s Court on July 16, last year, after he pleaded guilty to violating the MCO by being outside the house at 3.15am on April 12 last year.
For offences of violating the MCO the maximum fine is RM1,000.
In today’s proceedings only the involved parties were allowed to enter the courtroom.
Lawyer Hazwan Hamdan, who represented the youth, told the media later that Judge Zainal Azman had ruled that there was a need for him to amend the sentence meted out by the Rompin Magistrate’s Court.
“The court is of the view that the amount of fine should be increased to RM1,000 as stipulated under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020, or it will be used as a benchmark by other parties to obtain a lower fine in the future,” he said.
The judge also ordered the Form Five student, as a respondent, to serve one month in jail if he failed to pay the fine. It is understood that his brother paid the fine.
However, the court rejected the prosecution’s appeal for the teenager to perform community service for 120 hours for a period of 18 months; attend the Social Welfare Department’s interactive workshop and pay RM3,000 in compensation to his late girlfriend’s family.
Deputy public prosecutor Nasrul Hadi Abdul Ghani, in a written submission, said that the RM100 sentence was too low and he feared that it would be used as a benchmark for those who violated the MCO, and was against the objective of the MCO which was to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, lawyer Ahmad Deniel Roslan, who also represented the teenager in a written submission, argued that there was no need to amend the Magistrate’s Court ruling as his client had no previous criminal record and pleaded guilty at an early stage.
“What is more important is that the respondent can continue the school session and sit for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination this year. In fact, the respondent and his family have also met with the late girl’s family to apologise for the incident,” he said. ― Bernama