Sabah quake: Four foreigners plead guilty to 'obscene act' on Mt Kinabalu

Sabah quake: Four foreigners plead guilty to 'obscene act' on Mt Kinabalu

KOTA KINABALU - All four foreigners who allegedly stripped on Mount Kinabalu on May 30 were each sentenced to three days' jail after they pleaded guilty to a charge of obscene behaviour in a public place.

They were also fined RM5,000 (S$1,800) or three months jail and ordered to be deported.

As they have been in remand since Wednesday, they should be free once they paid the fine.

After two, three breaks during the course of the case, Sessions Court judge Dean Wyane Daly delivered the verdict at about 6.35pm Friday.

He first stood down the case when certain aspects on the facts were disputed by one of the accused.

Dutch national Dylan Snel, 23 shook his head when the facts were being read out, and the prosecution led by Senior Federal Counsel Jamil Ariffin later amended certain aspects of the facts.

The other three, British student Eleanor Hawkins, 24, and the Canadian siblings - Lindsey Petersen, 23, and his sister Danielle Peterson, 22 - remained silent.

According to the facts of the case under Section 294 (a) of the Penal Code for committing an obscene act in a public place, the two men were totally nude and the women were topless.

The court was told that while trekking up, the accused made a lot of noise and on reaching the summit at about 5.30am after a safety briefing, they photographed themselves for about an hour.

At about 6.45am at km8 of the trek, they challenged each other to take off their clothes to see who could withstand the cold and ignored the mountain guides pleas not to do it.

When the judge asked if the four agreed with the facts of the case, their lawyer, Ronnie Chiam, consulted the accused and conferred with the prosecutor after certain aspects of the facts were disputed.

Jamil later revised the facts, retracting "vulgarities" that were shouted at the guide.

In mitigation Chiam told the court that the act of the accused was due to ignorance of cultures and beliefs of the local people and ignorance that the mountain was sacred.

He said the four were mindful of the hurt their actions had caused to the people of Kundasang, Sabah and Makaysia.

"As a gesture of regret and remorse they are willing to extend a public apology to the people of Sabah and Malaysia," Chiam said.

Jamil said Malaysia welcomed visitors but "we expect them to respect our laws, cultures and sensitivities."

He said the court should impose a deterrent sentence similar to the nudity case in Penang where a fine of RM5,000 was imposed.

"Let this case be a precedent and reminder to tourists to respect Asian cultures and moral values," he said.

Jamil said the fact that they had been tried in social and mass media is not a reason for handing out a light sentence.

The four accused were brought to court under heavy police escort at about 2.45pm.

Wearing T-shirts, the women were handcuffed to each other so were the men, also in T-shirts, to each other.

 

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