Prosecution to appeal against acquittal of woman freed of murdering maid

The Court of Appeal upheld the acquittal of Ambika MA Shan (right), charged with murdering her Indonesian maid, on Tuesday.

PUTRAJAYA: The prosecution will appeal against a Court of Appeal ruling which upheld the acquittal of a woman charged with murdering her Indonesian maid two years ago.

“We will be filing the notice of appeal today,” Attorney-General (AG) Idrus Harun told FMT in a text message.

An appellant has 14 days to file a notice of appeal.

Idrus’s response came following a petition launched by Tenaganita seeking new charges to be laid in the case of Indonesian maid Adelina Lisao, who died after alleged neglect by her employer.

The petition calls for Ambika MA Shan to be charged under Section 304 of the Penal Code, which provides for cases of culpable homicide not amounting to murder or deaths due to negligence.

Conviction under this law carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison, depending on the level of intent established by the prosecution.

Adelina Lisao was found dead outside her employer’s home in Penang, with her head and face swollen and covered in wounds, in February 2018. (File pic)

In the petition, Tenaganita described the Court of Appeal’s decision as a “regressive step for the Malaysian justice system”.

On April 19 last year, the High Court in Penang acquitted Ambika of the murder of Adelina, 26, who succumbed to multiple organ failure following the alleged abuse at a house in Bukit Mertajam in 2018.

In its decision, the High Court invoked Section 254(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and acquitted the accused on grounds of her health concerns and advanced age.

On Tuesday, a three-member Court of Appeal bench said there was no appealable error by trial judge Akhtar Tahir in setting Ambika under the CPC provision.

“We are satisfied that the judge was right in exercising his power to acquit the accused,” bench chairman Yaacob Md Sam said in dismissing the prosecution’s appeal.

Sitting with Yaacob were Abu Bakar Jais and Nordin Hassan.

Yaacob said nothing on the appeal records showed that the prosecution intended to continue with the trial after calling three witnesses.