PUTRAJAYA: An Indian national was spared three strokes of the rotan after the Court of Appeal here amended his charge, from entering Malaysia without a valid travel document, to overstaying.
Justice Datuk Kamardin Hashim, who chaired a three-member bench, said the court agreed with the submissions by counsel A. Srimurugan who confirmed that his client Virendra Kumar had a visa which had expired.
He set aside Virendra’s conviction for entering the country without valid documents and amended that charge with overstaying under Section 15 (1) (c) of the Immigration Act 1959/1963.
He also set aside the whipping but maintained the four months jail term imposed by the Shah Alam magistrate’s court.
The other two judges presiding on the bench were Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.
Virendra, 24, from Dehradun in the Northern state of Uttarakhand, can now return home as he has already completed his four months jail sentence.
On July 24, Virendra pleaded guilty at the Shah Alam magistrate’s court to the charge of entering Malaysia without valid documents and was sentenced to four months jail and three strokes of rotan, and he was ordered to serve his jail term from the date of his arrest on June 10, this year.
He committed the offence at a car park at Kompleks Hong Leong Yamaha, Sungai Buloh, on June 10, this year.
Srimurugan who was assisted by K. A. Ramu had filed criminal revision of the jail sentence and whipping but the High Court dismissed the application on Aug 22, this year.
Srimurugan said the matter must be heard quickly as today was Virendra’s last day in jail and he was also scheduled to be whipped today.
He appealed to the court to set aside Virendra’s conviction under section 6 (1) (c) of the Immigration Act and amended the charge as there was an evidence that he had a proper visa but it was expired.
Srimurugan also said Virendra’s case should be treated with mercy and compassion.
There is no provision for whipping for offences of overstaying under section 15 (1) (c) of the Immigration Act.
Deputy public prosecutor Nik Habri Muhamad did not object.
Srimurugan told reporters later that Virendra had come to the country with a visa to work in a merchant ship in Sibu, Sarawak but in the process of returning to India, his bag was stolen. - Bernama