Court affirms Indonesians’ 16-year jail sentence for robbing Thai vessel

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today affirmed the sentence of 16 years’ jail and five strokes of the rotan each for 10 Indonesians who robbed an oil tanker in the waters off Terengganu three years ago.

Judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer, who led a three-member bench, said there was no merit in the appeal of nine of the men who wanted the court to reduce their sentence.

They were Anne Raja, Arsito Mohd Hardi, Kreston Muhaling, La Abu, Bram Ali, Luther Marnis Zachawerus, Badiun, Meidy Hermanus Wajongkere and Rollan Kapahese.

The bench also set aside the reduced sentence of 12 years’ jail imposed on Oktemi Supri by a High Court.

On Sept 20, 2017, Kuala Terengganu Sessions Court judge Rofiah Mohamed sentenced all the accused, aged between 34 and 62, to 16 years’ jail and five strokes of the rotan after they pleaded guilty to the charges.

They were ordered to serve the jail sentence from the date of their arrest, which was Sept 6 and 7.

Upon appeal, the High Court affirmed the sentence of the nine men but reduced the jail term of Oktemi but maintained the number of whippings.

Hamid, who sat with Hadhariah Syed Ismail and Abu Bakar Jais, said the High Court’s sentence had been set aside.

“We allow the prosecution’s appeal and affirmed the decision of the Sessions Court,” he said.

Allan Summan Pillai and Ku Hayati Ku Haron appeared for the prosecution while Mohd Sahir Mat Jusoh, Horley Isaacs and Yassin Aminuddin Anwar for the Indonesians.

They were charged with three others still at large with committing gang robbery on the ship, MT MGT-1 belonging to Thai-based Marine Global Transport while armed with knives, swords and machetes, and caused losses and fear to the 14 crew members on board.

The offence was committed in waters off Terengganu at 8.30pm on Sept 6, 2017.

At the outset of the proceeding, Issacs informed the court that the accused were misled to plead guilty on the promise they would be sent back to Indonesia after two or three weeks.

“They also did not understand the nature and consequence of the offence as they were not provided with an Indonesian interpreter,” he said.

However, Hamid told the lawyer that the Indonesians could file review applications on the basis that their plea was taken in breach of procedures.