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Appeals Court affirms conviction, reduce jail sentence against ex-Tronoh assemblyman Paul Yong - The Leaders Online
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Appeals Court affirms conviction, reduce jail sentence against ex-Tronoh assemblyman Paul Yong

Appeals Court affirms conviction, reduce jail sentence against ex-Tronoh assemblyman Paul Yong

PUTRAJAYA, March 1 ― The Court of Appeal here today reduced the 13-year imprisonment to eight years jail with two strokes of the cane on former Tronoh Assemblyman Paul Yong Choo Kiong for raping his maid, five years ago.

In a 2-1 majority decision, Justice Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail who chaired the panel with Justice Datuk Azman Abdullah affirmed the convicted against Yong while Justice Datuk SM Komathy Suppiah dissented.

On July 27, 2022, the High Court in Ipoh found Yong guilty of raping his 23-year-old Indonesian maid in a room of his house in Ipoh, Perak between 8.15pm and 9.15pm on July 7, 2019.

The charge framed under Section 376 (1) of the Penal Code, provides a jail term of up to 20 years and is liable to whipping.

However, the bench granted a stay of execution of the sentence after Yong’s counsel Datuk Rajpal Singh informed that they intend to appeal today’s decision to the Federal Court.

Reading out a majority decision, Justice Azman held that the trial judge did not err in his finding in convicting the appellant (Yong).

“We find that the learned High Court judge had not erred in his finding. We find there is no merit in the appellant’s appeal. The conviction was safe and the decision of the High Court is affirmed. Therefore, we dismissed the appeal against conviction,” he said.

According to Justice Azman, the High Court trial judge also found that the victim was a credible witness.

“The trial judge found that the appellant had opportunity to rape the victim when she was alone,” he added.

Justice Azman further said the trial judge also found that the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed the appellant’s wife leaving their house to go to the fast-food restaurant and the appellant had the opportunity to rape the victim when the appellant was alone after his wife left.

“The appellant and victim were left alone at the house for around 30 minutes. There was no other evidence from the appellant stating that his house was broken into or the victim had sexual intercourse with another man.

“Therefore, the conclusion (that can be made) that freshly torn hymen and abrasion on vagina were caused by the appellant as alleged by the victim,” he said.

According to Justice Azman, the trial judge had rejected the appellant’s defence for the reason the defence was an afterthought and bare denial.

Justice Azman also pointed out that the trial judge did not breach Section 182A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) by not considering the appellant’s statement to the police denying the rape.

Meanwhile, Justice Komathy when reading out a minority decision said the appellant did not get a fair trial in the High Court.

The judge said that during the trial, the victim had her face shielded, which was an obstacle for the appellant’s lawyers to ascertain her facial demeanour and body language when answering questions.

“The trial was not fair and the appellant was denied his fundamental right to get a fair trial,” she said.

Justice Komathy further said that there is no deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) evidence to implicate the appellant committed the rape.

“I am of the view that the appellant’s conviction is unsafe and unsatisfactory. I allow the appeal and set aside the conviction against the appellant,” she added.

When met after proceedings, another Yong’s counsel Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said they respected today’s decision but will appeal to the apex court and seek a full acquittal.

“We respect the decision of the majority. At the same time, there is a strong dissent given by Justice Komathy. This matter will be taken up to the Federal Court, where all the issues will be canvassed again,” Hisyam said.