Maid acquitted of employer's murder to be kept in mental hospital

PUTRAJAYA - An Indonesian maid will now be kept in a mental hospital after the Court of Appeal upheld her acquittal over the charge of murdering her employer almost five years ago.

Walfrida Soik, 22, smiled upon hearing the court ruling.

She also chatted happily with politician Prabowo Subianto Djojohadikusumo, who helped seek legal assistance for her after she claimed that she was a victim of human trafficking.

Justice Aziah Ali, who chaired a three-man panel, struck out the prosecution’s appeal against her acquittal after they withdrew it.

“We affirm the High Court’s order,” said Justice Aziah. In the panel were Justices Ahmadi Asnawi and Vernon Ong Lam Kiat.

Kota Baru High Court judge Justice Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim had on April 7 last year held that he found that the accused to be of “unsound mind” during the incident, based on the expert’s report over her mental condition.

In his judgment, Justice Ahmad Zaidi said the testimony of Hospital Permai Johor’s forensic psychiatric consultant Dr Bada'iah Yahya was deemed more comprehensive and acceptable to the court.

Justice Ahmad Zaidi has ordered Walfrida to be sent to Hospital Permai Johor and to be kept there at the pleasure of the Sultan of Kelantan, under Section 348 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

She had claimed trial to murdering Yeap Seok Pen, 60, at a house in Kampung Lubok Tapah, Pasir Mas in Kelantan between 11am and 12.30pm on Dec 7, 2010.

Walfrida was said to have been working for only two weeks at the victim’s house.

At the outset of court proceedings, DPP Mohd Mukhzany Fariz Mohd Mokhtar told the judges that the prosecution wanted to withdraw their appeal filed on April 16 last year against her acquittal.

Speaking to local and Indonesian reporters later, her lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said that he would now write a petition to the Kelantan Sultan to request for the release of the maid.

“I was told that she is already recovered.

“So, our chances in the application for her release are really bright,” added Muhammad Shafee.

Walfrida told The Star that she was looking forward to her release and to returning to her elderly mother’s home in Indonesia.

“I am being well taken care of by the people in the hospital.

“I will be happier if I can go back to my family,” added Walfrida, who is the seventh of nine siblings.