GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here today ordered an 18-year-old woman charged with murder to continue being held in custody at a hospital to receive medical treatment while awaiting an appeal to be released on bail.
Santhiea Mahadevan, who is alleged to have thrown her newborn out a window on July 10, was charged with murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the death penalty upon conviction.
Bail is not offered to those accused of murder who are usually held in jail pending their trial.
High Court judge Amirudin Abd Rahman said while the court considered Santhiea’s application, she was to stay put at the Penang Hospital for two weeks until case management on Aug 7.
She has been at the hospital’s maternity ward under the prison department’s custody since her arrest on July 10.
On July 16, Santhiea was charged with the murder of her newborn at the fourth floor of her Sri Ivory Apartment in Bandar Baru Air Itam at 8.25am on July 10.
She was charged at the hospital before a Magistrate’s Court registrar, who later told her lawyers that she was not at liberty to decide on bail.
Santhiea’s lawyer, RSN Rayer, then made an appeal for bail at the High Court.
In the appeal proceedings today, deputy public prosecutor Yazid Mustaqim Roslan said the prosecutor’s office had received Santhiea’s motion to appeal for bail dated July 22, together with her supporting affidavit, adding that it would need time to reply to the motion.
Rayer then asked the court to allow Santhiea to continue to be treated at the hospital as she was still weak.
He said the court should consider her affidavit as she needed follow-up treatment due to birth-related complications.
He said bail should be granted to Santhiea as women could be allowed bail based on precedents set by the Federal Court.
He cited the case of the public prosecutor vs Balwant Singh where an elderly person was granted bail and, lately, Samira Muzaffar in the Cradle CEO murder case who was allowed bail as well.
Amiruddin then said Santhiea was to stay in the hospital for another two weeks pending a reply from the prosecutor’s office. He set Aug 7 for case management.