NST, 2011/02/21, By Jennifer Gomez, firstname.lastname@example.orgSHAH ALAM:
The jail sentence for two accused who pleaded guilty
to disposing evidence in the Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya's murder case was
increased from 7 years to 20 years by the High Court on appeal by the
two against their 7 years jail sentence handed down by the judge.
Judge Datuk Mohtaruddin Baki revised the decision of the magistrate,
which was 7 years for each of the four counts to run concurrently, to 5
years for each count, to run consecutively
The Telok Datok Magistrate's Court in Banting had on Oct 15 sentenced
K. Sarawanan, 20, and U. Suresh, 27, to seven years for each count of
disposing of evidence, but ordered the terms to run concurrently.
Magistrate Hurmain Hussain made the decision after they pleaded
guilty of burning the bodies of Sosilawati, 47, bank officer Norhisham
Mohammad, 38, lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, and driver Kamaruddin
Shamsuddin, 44, and disposing the ashes.
Sarawanan is said to have committed the offence in Jalan Tanjung
Layang Tanjung Sepat Banting on Aug 30 while Suresh disposed evidence at
Sungai Panchau in Jalan Morib Banting on Aug 31.
Sarawanan appealed to the High Court against conviction and sentence while Suresh made no appeal.
The High Court, using powers provided under the Criminal
Procedure Code to review the lower court's decision, enhanced the
sentences of both.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Ishak Mohd Yusof,
Saiful Edris Zainuddin and Idham Abd Ghani prosecuted while A.S.
Dhaliwal appeared for Sarawan and Suresh, who was also represented by
Datuk Harpal Grewal.
In his judgement, Mohtaruddin rejected Sarawanan's allegation that he had been forced to plead guilty.
Mohtaruddin said the proceeding under a magistrate was only a
"summary trail" and the two accused had admitted guilt with
understanding of the nature and consequence of their plea.
regarded as extreme the allegations in the affidavit against the Tamil
interpreter, lawyers representing the accused and the magistrate.
said the allegation that the interpreter had not explained the charge,
the nature and consequence of a guilty plea, and the facts of the case
Sarawanan in the affidavit complained that he and
Suresh had not chosen their lawyers, but neither accused had objected
when counsel were appointed for them, Mohtaruddin said.
rejecting the appeal, he said: "I see no illegality, impropriety or
incorrectness in the record of proceedings by the learned magistrate and
there was no miscarriage of justice."
Mohtaruddin, however, found that the magistrate had erred in sentencing.
the Lower Court Act 1948, Mohtaruddin said, a magistrate could only
impose the maximum seven years for a count of disposing of evidence if
the accused had a previous conviction or antecedent.
accused had no previous conviction, the magistrate had probably
considered three of the four counts of disposing of evidence as
antecedents, he said.
Considering that the offence was very
serious, Mohtaruddin said, five years in prison for burning the bodies
of four murder victims and disposing the ashes was "manifestly
He, therefore, ordered the sentences to run concurrently.
Dhaliwal, representing both accused, said he will appeal the decision.