Tahfiz fire tragedy: Judge emotional when sentencing teenager

Tahfiz fire tragedy: Judge emotional when sentencing teenager

KUALA LUMPUR: High Court judge Datuk Azman Abdullah got emotional when reading out his judgment for the case involving a teenager who was charged with the murder of 23 people in a fire at Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah, almost three years ago.

The High Court ordered the teenager who was found guilty to be detained at the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The court held him responsbile for the death of 23 people in a fire at the tahfiz in Kampung Datuk Keramat, Wangsa Maju, between 4.15am and 6.45am on Sept 14, 2017.

He was charged with 23 counts of murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 34 of the same law, which provides the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

“I pray that their souls will be blessed by Allah SWT and placed in heaven, so do their parents,“ said Azman, who came close to tears.

On hearing this from the learned judge the atmosphere in the courtroom turned sombre.

Earlier, lawyer Mohd Haijan Omar, representing the teenager who is now 19 said his client regretted the inconvenience caused and asked for forgiveness.

“My client humbly apologises to the people involved for the difficulties they went through throughout the trial period that took place over the past three years,“ he said in his mitigation.

Mohd Haijan said his client still maintained his innocence and had kept denying that he had committed the offence.

However, Azman said if the lawyer said that his client is innocent, the argument should be presented in the Court of Appeal.

Mohd Haijan said his client on his own initiative has taken classes in prison and will be sitting for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

He said the juvenile offender is the second of five siblings adding that his father died while he was in remand.

“His mother runs an online business selling clothes and only earns about RM2,000 a month,“ he added.

The prosecution was conducted by deputy public prosecutors Julia Ibrahim and N.Joy Jothi.

According to an amended charge, the teenager, together with another unidentified individual, was charged with murdering and causing the death of the 23 people staying at the tahfiz centre at Jalan Keramat Hujung, Kampung Datuk Keramat, Wangsa Maju here, between 4.15 am and 6.45 am on Sept 14, 2017. – Bernama

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