BUTTERWORTH: The stepmother and father of an 11-year-old girl, found by police to have been allegedly abused at a flat here, pleaded not guilty to charges of abuse and neglect at the Sessions Court here today.
The 38-year-old housewife was charged with abusing the child physically and causing her mental trauma under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001.
Her mechanic husband, aged 36, was charged with neglect and allowing the physical and emotional abuse of the girl, under the same section of the Act.
The offence carries a maximum 10-year jail term and a fine of RM20,000 upon conviction.
The offences were alleged to have taken place from mid-2019 until February this year.
The charges were read out in Tamil to the stepmother and in Bahasa Malaysia to the husband.
When they were read out to the woman, she pleaded not guilty and asked the court to be lenient with her as she has to take care of five other children.
She also said she has a one-year-old child with a hole in the heart who needs to be breastfed.
Deputy public prosecutor JG Kaameni told the court that no bail was being offered due to the severity of the case.
However, judge Norhayati Mohamad Yunus offered the couple bail of RM15,000 in one surety each.
It could not be ascertained immediately if the couple had posted bail.
Norhayati set March 17 for mention and submission of medical reports on the child.