Lawyers split over delay of jail term for man who smashed windscreen

Daniel Tan Abdullah, whose one-year jail term was postponed pending a revised hearing at the High Court.

PETALING JAYA: Two lawyers have offered differing views on the court’s decision to postpone the jail sentence of a man convicted of smashing a car windscreen who is now out on bail.

Daniel Tan Abdullah was jailed last Monday after pleading guilty to a charge of causing mischief. On Friday, however, the Magistrate’s Court here allowed his one-year jail sentence to be postponed.

The factory store assistant was freed on RM6,000 bail pending a revised hearing at the High Court. He was also told to report to the nearest police station twice a month.

Lawyer SN Nair said it was “quite irregular” to seek a halt to Daniel’s custodial sentence, adding that the magistrate should not have entertained the application for a stay of execution.

“After the magistrate has passed a sentence upon the accused, he or she becomes functus officio,” he said, referring to the Latin legal term which means that the duty of the court officer ends after the final decision is pronounced.

“The magistrate cannot reopen the accused’s case.”

However, lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said there was nothing unusual about the decision.

“In fact, it was supported by case laws for the same court to allow a stay of execution,” he said, adding that a person’s liberty cannot be replaced based on the number of days spent in prison.

He also told FMT that a stay of execution would always come with a bail condition.

“If there is no bail condition, then that would be wrong,” he said.

Daniel’s jail sentence had received mixed reactions from the public, with some in support of the custodial sentence and others calling it excessive for a first-time offender.