Malaysian diplomat pleads not guilty to indecently assaulting NZ woman

Malaysian diplomat pleads not guilty to indecently assaulting NZ woman

KUALA LUMPUR - Former Malaysian military attache Muhammad Rizalman Ismail has pleaded not guilty on Monday to indecently assaulting a New Zealand woman with intent to rape her, at a Wellington court on Monday, Television New Zealand (TVNZ) reported.

The 38-year-old had also, in November 2014, pleaded not guilty to assaulting Tania Billingsley with intent to rape her at her home in Wellington.

TVNZ reported that the former defence attache would face a jury in the Wellington High Court by the end of the year.

A hearing to consider pre-trial matters has been set for August.

Rizalman was arrested on May 9 last year on allegations of attempted burglary and sexual assault on a 21-year-old Wellington woman.

He was charged the following day and faces a maximum penalty 10-year jail term for each offence. After leaving the country and returning to Malaysia under diplomatic immunity, Rizalman was extradited to New Zealand last October.

He is out on bail at an undisclosed address after surrendering his passport and under a night curfew with orders not to contact the complainant.

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