PUTRAJAYA: A Cambodian national was ordered by the Court of Appeal here today to enter his defence for the murder of two women and a child, also Cambodians, in an oil palm plantation in Selangor in 2015.

A three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, Datuk Wira Ahmad Nasfy Yasin and Datuk Hashim Hamzah allowed the prosecution's appeal to set aside a High Court decision in acquitting and discharging hawker Usuf Matli on the murder charges.

In delivering the unanimous decision, Justice Vazeer Alam said the High Court judge erred when he discharged and acquitted Usuf for the murder Salamah Yusof, Fatimas Aly and Fatimas's son Asnawi Ahmad.

Their ages could not be determined as they carried Cambodian passports.

He said the prosecution had succeeded in proving a prima facie case against Usuf, 37, after considering the evidence of a child and other witnesses, Usuf's conduct and other circumstantial evidence.

Justice Vazeer said evidence showed that Usuf was the last person seen with the victims and that he had led police to discover their bodies.

He said the prosecution's appeal has merits.

Justice Vazeer ordered Usuf to enter his defence before the same trial judge and fixed May 18 for case management.

Meanwhile, the court also postponed Usuf's appeal against his conviction and death sentence for the murder of another child, Rahimi Yusuf, at the same place, time and date.

Usuf was charged with murdering the four at a Felcra oil palm plantation in Batu 7, Kampung Sijangkang, Telok Panglima Garang, Kuala Langat, Selangor between 3 am on Sept 6, 2015 and 7.25 pm on Sept 7, 2015.

The prosecution, led by deputy public prosecutor Ku Hayati Ku Haron, appealed against Usuf's acquittal at the end of the prosecution’s case for the murder of the women and the child, while Usuf appealed against his conviction and death sentence for killing Rahimi.

Lawyers Datuk Rosal Azimin Ahmad, Najiah Zaimah Aris and Nabil Ashraff Ridzuan represented Usuf.-Bernama