College student facing murder charge granted bail

M Santhiea was charged with causing the death of her newborn at Sri Ivory Apartment, Bandar Baru, Ayer Itam, in Penang on July 10.

PUTRAJAYA: An 18-year-old college student, who was charged with the murder of her newborn baby two months ago, has been released on bail of RM30,000.

This follows today’s Court of Appeal’s decision to allow M Santhiea’s application after she failed in the Magistrates’ Court and High Court in Penang.

A three-member bench chaired by Kamaludin Md Said, however, only allowed the bail pending the case being transferred to the High Court.

Apart from the bail amount, the court also ordered Santhiea to report to the nearest police station once a week, barred her from applying for a passport and not to interfere with witnesses.

Others on the bench were P Ravinthran and Mohd Sofian Abd Razak.

Lawyer RSN Rayer, who represented Santhiea, said a family member posted the amount to secure her freedom.

Deputy public prosecutor Dhiya Syazwani Izyan Mohd Akhir earlier raised a preliminary objection, saying that only the High Court had jurisdiction to grant bail if the matter was before that court.

Rayer said the Court of Appeal had the power since a fresh application was filed after the Magistrates’ Court and High Court refused to offer bail.

On Aug 21, High Court judge Amirudin Abd Rahman dismissed Santhiea’s application but did not give reasons.

On July 16, Santhiea was charged with causing the death of her newborn at Sri Ivory Apartment, Bandar Baru, Ayer Itam, here at 8.25am on July 10.

The charge, which carries the death penalty upon conviction, was read out to her at the maternity ward of Penang Hospital, where she was admitted for treatment.

The case will be mentioned before a magistrate on Oct 15.

Rayer told FMT he would have to make another bail application once the magistrate transmits the matter to the High Court, which has the jurisdiction to try capital punishment cases.