Rape accused changes plea and wants to marry victim

Rape accused changes plea and wants to marry victim
Muhamad Hunain being led away from the courtroom after he claimed trial to three charges of sexual offences in George Town.

GEORGE TOWN - A 25-year-old man who earlier admitted to three charges of sexual offences against a disabled teenage girl, plans to marry the 14-year-old.

He also changed his plea to not guilty.

Muhamad Hunain Shah Sufi told the Sessions Court he intended to meet the girl's family with the possibility of marrying her.

Hunain had on Friday pleaded guilty to all three charges when he was charged at a magistrate's court here and the case was fixed for sentencing at the Sessions Court yesterday.

However, when the case was called up, he changed his mind and withdrew his plea of guilt.

He claimed trial to two counts of raping the girl, aged 14 years and 10 months, at an apartment in Paya Terubong here at 3pm on March 24, and again at 2pm on March 26.

He also denied sodomising the girl at the same place at 3pm on March 27.

The offences under Sections 376 and 377B of the Penal Code carry a jail term of up to 20 years and possible whipping upon conviction.

DPP Lim Cheah Yit urged the court not to grant bail to Hunain in view of the seriousness of the offences, the girl's age and physical disability, and her vulnerability as she and Hunain knew each other.

Hunain, in seeking bail, then said he wanted to meet the girl's family and might marry her.

Lim said this could amount to witness tampering and marriage would have no effect on the case.

He cited a case in Sabah in February where restaurant manager Riduan Masmud, 41, was ordered by the Kota Kinabalu Sessions Court to be jailed 12 years and whipped twice for raping a 13-year-old girl although he had subsequently married her.

Sessions Court judge Khairul Anuar Abdul Halim disallowed bail and advised Hunain to get a lawyer. He fixed May 19 for mention.

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