AGC: No further appeal on rape case decision

PETALING JAYA: The Attorney-General's Chambers will not file any application for a review of the acquittal of a 60-year-old man over charges of allegedly raping a 15 year-old girl.

Deputy Solicitor General (I) Datuk Tun Abd Majid Tun Hamzah said the chambers accepted the decision of the Court of Appeal.

"Since it is the final Court of Appeal (apex court) for cases that originate from the lower court, there is no further appeal.

"The AGC has maintained the policy of not filing a review," Tun Abd Majid told The Star yesterday.

He was commenting on the release of Bunya Jalong by the Court of Appeal on Thursday over four rape charges.

There was uproar from various quarters over the acquittal of the man by the appellate court, saying that it was "a clear case" of statutory rape.

Bunya was accused of raping the 15-year-old girl in May, June, July and August 2011 at a hotel in Sibu, causing her to become pregnant.

The victim gave birth at the Sibu Hospital on Feb 5, 2012, with a DNA report confirming Bunya to be the biological father of the baby boy.

On Thursday, a three-man panel at the Court of Appeal, which sat in Kuching, decided unanimously to acquit and discharge Bunya, reasoning that it was unsafe to convict him of the charges.

Advocates Association of Sarawak president Leonard Shim asked the Attorney-General's Chambers to consider the possibility of reviewing or proffering other charges on Bunya for his alleged actions under the Child Act 2001 or the Penal Code.

Sukuguam president Datuk Khairul Anwar Rahmat also urged the Attorney-General to ask for a review of the court ruling.

"The AGC must send a strong message to the public that we will never condone such actions," he said.

Bar Council criminal law committee co-chairman Salim Bashir, however, said it would be highly prejudicial to proffer new charges against Bunya now.

"If in the course of his trial, another charge was proffered against Bunya, it would be acceptable. If he was to face different charges after his acquittal by the appellate court, it would be highly prejudicial," added Salim.

Wanita MCA national chairman Datuk Heng Seai Kie urged the Government to enact legislation which reinforced that statutory rape by either a man or woman of any minor girl or boy was an offence, even if the victim had consented.

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