Defence proceedings for teenager accused of killing 23 in tahfiz fire to resume on April 20

19 Mar 2020 / 18:42 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The defence proceedings in the case involving a teenager charged with killing 23 occupants of Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah three years ago, will resume at the High Court here on April 20.

Deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim said the teenager was initially scheduled to continue testifying on March 30, but the proceeding was postponed as the court is closed from yesterday until March 31.

“The defence will probably call two or three more witnesses during the defence proceedings which to resume on April 20,” she told Bernama when contacted here today.

The teenager, now 19, had given his testimony from the witnessed stand on March 2 and 3.

On Jan 28, the court ordered the teenager to enter his defence for the offence committed on Sept 14, 2017, while another accused, who was jointly charged with the offence, was freed from the charge.

Hakim Datuk Azman Abdullah, in his judgement, said the prosecution managed to prove a prima facie case against one accused but failed to do so on the other.

Thus, the first accused had to enter his defence while the second accused was discharged and acquitted from the offence.

The two boys, who were then 16-years-old, were jointly charged with the murder and causing the death of 23 individuals at the tahfiz centre three years ago.

They were charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 34 of the same law, and face the mandatory death sentence, if found guilty.

However, Section 97(1) of the Child Act 2001 states that a death sentence shall not be pronounced or recorded against a person convicted of an offence if the child is under the age of 18, and in lieu of the death sentence, as provided under Section 97 (2) of the same law, the court shall order the person to be detained at the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

In the incident at 5.15am on Sept 14, 21 students and two teachers died when they were trapped on the third floor of the religious residential school hostel which caught fire. - Bernama

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