KLANG, March 7 — The High Court here today set aside a 1,050-year jail sentence – the highest to date for a rape offence – handed down on a man for raping his underage stepdaughter.
Judge Datuk Azmi Abdullah made the decision after allowing an appeal by the 34-year-old accused against the jail sentence, and reduced it to 42 years, however, the former upheld the sentence of 24 whippings handed down by the Sessions Court judge.
Judge Azmi reviewed the 1,050-year prison sentence handed down against the man who pleaded guilty to 105 charges of raping his stepdaughter, and amended the sentence to 14 years in prison for each year the offences were committed in, namely 2018, 2019 and 2020.
The court ordered the jail sentence to run consecutively. This means the accused has to serve 42 years in jail.
In his judgment, he said the sentence handed down by the Sessions Court Judge was an emotional judgment that was manifestly excessive and a ‘crushing sentence’.
“This court finds that the sentence of 1,050 years is one that is unreasonable as it is unlikely to be served, because the appellant is unlikely to reach that age. Even the age of 100 is rarely reached by people in the world,” he said.
He said in terms of punishment, Section 377B of the Penal Code (rape offense) provides that the jail term that can be imposed is up to 20 years, and thus the sentence of 10 years imprisonment for each charge is a sentence that is within the sentence that can be imposed by a Sessions Court Judge.
“The Sessions Court judge, in this case, used the discretion for all the 10-year jail sentences to run consecutively, and this made the sentence a staggering 1,050 years in prison, a number that can be said to be a record in our country.
“So far, there is no rule that says that total punishment that can be imposed cannot exceed a number that is considered a maximum. However, the court during its sentencing needs to assess many factors,” he said.
However, Judge Azmi said the court could not look down on what the victim, who was only 12 when the criminal acts began, had experienced at the time.
On Jan 27 last year, the man pleaded guilty to 105 charges of raping his stepdaughter at a house in Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya, Selangor from Jan 5, 2018, to Feb 24, 2020, under Section 376B of the Penal Code which provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and whipping.
The prosecution was conducted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Aimi Syazwani Sarmin while the appellant was represented by lawyers V. Vemal Arasan and K.A. Ramu.