Jailed 4 years for beating parents

BRUNEI - A man who admitted to beating his parents during a drunken rage has been sentenced to serve four years in jail with immediate effect.

The court document submitted by prosecuting officer Shamshuddin Kamaluddin stated that the incident occurred during two separate occasions.

On June 2 at their home in Kg Temburong, the defendant, Muhammad Sulaimi Abdullah/Sabat @ Toni Ak Sabat, had gotten drunk from drinking whisky when he got into a scuffle with his father who had told him not to drive as he was intoxicated.

After his request was rejected a number of times, this led Sulaimi to lose his temper and punched his 62-year-old father in the face twice.

The defendant's 55-year-old mother, who was in the kitchen cooking dinner, then heard the commotion and ran to the living room to see the defendant fighting with his father.

The mother tried to stop the defendant by standing between her son and her husband, but this made Sulaimi angry, and he subsequently punched his mother in the face which resulted in her losing consciousness.

Despite this, Sulaimi continued hitting, kicking and punching his mother repeatedly, causing bruises on her face, chest, arms and both legs. Meanwhile, the defendant's father ran into his bedroom and locked himself, fearing for his safety.

After regaining consciousness several hours later, the mother, who felt pain all over her body and could not get up, called out for the defendant who was sleeping at the living room.

When she saw the reflection of her face was blue and swollen, she asked why the defendant did this to her, but Sulaimi kept quiet.

Sulaimi then went back to the capital on June 3, to resume his work as a night watchman.

When the defendant's mother did not turn up for work after three days, her supervisor went to look for her at her flat. It was then that the supervisor discovered the defendant's bruised up father and mother.

The supervisor took photos of the defendant's mother to get approval for a two-week leave. However, the photo went viral and was quickly circulated via Whatsapp and came to the attention of the police.

On June 10, the officer in command of police in Temburong ordered the Criminal Investigation Department in Temburong to investigate the photographs of the mother believed to have been beaten up by her son.

The investigations led to the supervisor as the person who took the photograph and she in turn led them to the defendant's parents.

The defendant's mother was sent to the hospital in Bangar and the doctor classified her injuries as hurt caused by blunt injury. The defendant's mother was then hospitalised for treatment before she was discharged on June 13.

Sulaimi surrendered himself to the police after the police sought public assistance on his whereabouts through the media.

During the investigations by the Women and Children Abuse Investigation Unit, Sulaimi admitted to hitting his parents on June 2 because he was angry. He also admitted to hitting his parents in another incident four years ago.

During the Gawai festivities at Kg Amo C and Amo B longhouse in 2010, Sulaimi got into a fight with his father when the defendant was told not to go out. Sulaimi was drunk at the time after drinking nine bottles of rice wine and vodka.

The mother had tried to intervene but the defendant took a waist belt and whipped his mother on her forehead. He also punched his mother's shoulder and made her unconscious.

Police was later informed there was a fight at the longhouse and they arrested the defendant.

In her statement to the police, the defendant's mother told them about the incident but she did not want the case to be pursued further as she had forgiven her son.

During the proceedings yesterday, Senior Magistrate Muhammed Faisal PDJLD DSP Hj Kefli described the incident the most shocking assault as it involved both parents, and most of the injuries were suffered by the mother, which were extensive. The court took into consideration the defendant was intoxicated on both occasions, and that the mother was beaten to unconsciousness. In addition, she was further beaten even when she fell unconscious.

"The defendant, in the court's opinion, is clearly a dangerous person when he is intoxicated, especially to his family members who are immediately near him when he's intoxicated," said the senior magistrate.

The court went on to say that Sulaimi is also a danger to society, as the defendant has the potential to cause greater injuries to the complainants and other persons in the future.

"As such, a custodial sentence is both necessary and appropriate," said the court.

The senior magistrate further ruled in favour of the prosecution's submission that the defendant's behaviour is disapproved by society and the sentence should reflect as such.

He added that while Sulaimi pleaded guilty and has a clear record, the court would not use that to mitigate the defendant's behaviour given the extent of the assault.

"Had it not been the tenacity of the supervisor and the diligence and sense of duty of the Temburong police, the defendant may not have been brought to justice," said the senior magistrate.

The court further said the injuries suffered by both parents would take a toll on them as it may take some time for them to recover.

The senior magistrate said a custodial sentence is appropriate as any form of punishment is not sufficient in this case.