PETALING JAYA: It is illogical to impose a jail term that is longer than the average life expectancy, a High Court has observed in the case of a man convicted of raping his stepdaughter numerous times.
In reducing the jail term to 42 years from 1,050 years, judge Azmi Abdullah said he was guided by a 2009 Court of Appeal ruling that a custodial sentence should not be unreasonable and should take into account the life expectancy of an accused or appellant.
The judgment also stated that the life expectancy of Malaysian men was 70 while for women it was 75, but projected that both men and women could live longer in future.
Azmi said another case law also stated that the court could not avoid imposing a heavy punishment to commensurate with the gravity of the offence.
In the present appeal, he said, the sessions court appeared not to have considered the background of the appellant when imposing a deterrent jail term.
The judge said the 1,050-year jail term imposed on the man, who is now 34 years old, was obviously illogical as he would not live to reach that age.
Azmi said the jail term ordered by the trial judge (in the sessions court) was based on an emotional judgment and manifestly excessive.
“Most people cannot even reach the age of 100,” he said in his judgment as to why he reduced the jail term of the man to 42 years.
The judge, however, maintained the 24 strokes of the rotan, the maximum allowed under the law.
Azmi said he was also aware that the offence of rape carried a jail term of up to 30 years and whipping.
The man, who was unrepresented during his trial in the sessions court, had pleaded guilty to committing the offences at a house in Sungai Way, Selangor, from Jan 5, 2018 to Feb 24, 2020.
He sexually assaulted the girl 50 times in 2018, 32 times in 2019, and 23 times in 2020, bringing the total number of charges to 105. The girl was 12 in 2018.
The sessions court had, on Jan 27, 2021, ordered the man’s 1,050-year jail term to begin from the date of his arrest on Jan 20 last year.
Following the reduction of the jail term to 42 years, and with one-third remission for good behaviour, the man could be freed after serving 28 years.
However, the man, now represented by lawyers KA Ramu and V Vemal Arasan, has filed a final appeal to the Court of Appeal, to further reduce his jail term.