Rights of victims especially children must be protected, said Karpal Singh.
GEORGE TOWN: Senior parliamentarian and lawyer Karpal Singh has called on the government to amend the Section 294 of the Criminal Procedure Code to repeal the bound over clause for statutory rape conviction.
He wants Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s administration to table the amendment bill in the coming parliamentary session this month.
But, he wants the amendment not to have a retrospective effect on any earlier court decision that had overturned jail sentences into bound over for statutory rape such as the case of former national youth squad bowler Nor Afizal Azizan.
“The amendment should have future effects only,” Karpal told newsmen in Air Itam yesterday.
Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court’s decision to sentence Nor Afizan to five years’ jail for statutory rape with a bound over for five years on a RM25,000 good behaviour bond.
The court found Nor Afizal, who had entered a guilty plea, was much older than the minor he had consensual sex with, had cooperated with the police, shown remorse, and given a guarantee that he would not commit the offence again.
In another case in Penang last Wednesday, the Sessions Court bound over 22-year-old electrician Chuah Guan Jiu for three years on a RM25,000 good behaviour bond after he was found guilty of raping his 12-year-old girlfriend on two occasions last year.
Judge Sitarun Nisa Abdul Aziz said the court had considered that Chuah was young, a first time offender, and that the act was consensual.
Both cases ignited public furore over the sentences meted out.
Many had agreed with the verdict in Nor Afizal’s case, but expressed shock that Chuah had been let off as easily.
“Public outcry was understandable but you can’t blame the court for it,” said Karpal.
He pointed out that the provision for bound over for statutory rape was allowed in the parliamentary statute.
“The parliament is to be blamed and it must amend it to allay public concern, fear and anxiety.
“Rights of victims especially children must be protected,” he stressed.
On gutter politics, seven-term MP slammed those who stepped on and torch portraits of any individual as “rude.”
“It’s an unruly public misbehaviour. Legally it’s not wrong but morally it is,” he said.
He said the police was wrong in handcuffing teenager Ong Sing Yee, who allegedly stepped on portrait of Najib during Merdeka celebrations in Dataran Merdeka, for her action was not legally wrong.
“Since it’s not legally wrong, it’s not an arrestable offence. She should not have been handcuffed,” rebuked Karpal.