PUTRAJAYA: A young Nepali accused of murdering his fellow citizen at a factory hostel seven years ago, has been acquitted by the Court of Appeal.
Kapar Rupesh Kumar, who was 16 years old at the time of the incident, saw a three-member Court of Appeal bench led by Justice Kamaludin Md Said overturn his conviction.
Kamaludin said the panel found “many doubts” in the prosecution’s case.
“This is a murder charge and the prosecution has failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt,” said Kamaludin, who sat with Justices Hadhariah Syed Ismail and Abu Bakar Jais.
After setting aside the conviction entered by the High Court in 2019, Kamaludin told a relieved Kapar it would be better for him to “balik kampung” (return to his home country) as soon as possible.
However, it remains unclear whether the prosecution will bring a final appeal to the Federal Court and seek his continued detention pending its disposal.
Kapar, now 23, was found guilty by the High Court of murdering Raut Anil Kumar at a workers’ hostel in Taman Pelangi in Rawang, Selangor, about 7.30am on Feb 28, 2016.
Earlier today, lawyer Kharenjit Kaur submitted that there was no evidence her client had stabbed the victim. Kapar should have been acquitted without his defence being called, she said.
“None of the prosecution witnesses testified that they saw the accused (Kapar) stabbing Raut. Instead, they only witnessed a fight between the two,” said Kharenjit, who was assisted by Nur Aqilah Abdul Rahim.
The investigating officer testified that none of the exhibits collected, including the knife allegedly used in the incident, linked Kapar to the stabbing, she said.
Deputy public prosecutor Zaki Ashraf Zubir submitted that the conviction by the High Court was safe and should be maintained.
Kharenjit later told FMT that Kapar had been initially charged as an adult.
He was later found to have been underage at the time of the incident, and, upon conviction, was ordered to be detained at the pleasure of the Sultan of Selangor.
“We had to prove he was a child (below 18 years of age) by producing his birth certificate from Nepal,” she said.
In another appeal, the same bench acquitted former student C Sharvin, for allegedly trafficking 1.8kg of cannabis at an apartment in Puchong in 2018.
Earlier, lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo had submitted that the trial judge had failed to state whether the accused was to enter his defence for actual or presumed possession and trafficking.
“This is a fundamental error as it directly affects the burden of proof the accused has to meet when making his defence,” she said during proceedings which lasted only 15 minutes.
Sangeet was assisted by Harshaan Zamani, Simranjit Kaur and Pravin Mahentharan.
The High Court sentenced Sharvin, 27, to death last year.
Deputy public prosecutor Atiqah Abdul Karim appeared for the prosecution.