Child abuser did not understand charges, ordered to undergo re-trial

Child abuser did not understand charges, ordered to undergo re-trial
Yuliana wiping away tears during the High Sessions Court hearing in Kuantan yesterday. Pic by Luqman Hakim Zubir.

KUANTAN - The High Court yesterday set aside a Sessions Court decision in February to sentence an Indonesian maid to 20 years' jail for abuse and attempted murder of her employer's 4-month-old baby.

High Court judge Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya said the maid, Yuliana, did not fully understand the charges read to her on Feb 19 and ordered the 23-year-old to undergo a fresh trial at the Sessions Court before a different judge.

Mariana said the appellant, from Aceh, had pleaded guilty without receiving an explanation about what she was facing.

"The Sessions Court judge committed a blunder after failing to consider if the appellant understood the charges against her as she was not represented in court. Since she did not have a lawyer, the Sessions Court should have clarified the law for her.

"The judge failed to take into account the appellant's appeal, which was not submitted in the judgment, and instead, imposed a heavy sentence of 20 years in prison.

"Taking into account all the factors, I find that there is great doubt whether the appellant fully understood the charge against her."

After the hearing, Yuliana was released on a police bail and sent to the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur. The court fixed Jan 6 for mention.

Yesterday, Yuliana broke down in tears as she sat in the dock and told Mariana that she missed her two children in Indonesia.

On Feb 19, Yuliana had pleaded guilty to two separate charges of throwing and hurling the baby, Mohamed Hareez Mohamed Zamri, nine times at 7.45am on Feb 15 at 7 Lorong Bukit Setongkol 38, Jalan Bukit Setongkol here.

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