SHAH ALAM: The High Court here today sentenced a Vietnamese woman to jail for three years and four months after she pleaded guilty to voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous means on North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother, Kim Chol or Kim Jong-nam, at the KL International Airport 2 (klia2), two years ago.
Judge Datuk Azmi Ariffin ordered Doan Thi Huong to serve the sentence from the date of her arrest, which was Feb 15, 2017.
In the judgment, Azmi said Doan, who is the youngest of five siblings, was lucky because the prosecution offered her an alternative charge that provided an imprisonment for up to 10 years, compared with the initial charge, which was for murder and came with the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
“I have ruled that there is a prima facie case and I have called you to enter defence. If the trial has proceeded, you can still be discharged and acquitted after the defence stage if you are able to raise doubt. I honestly think you should be grateful to the Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) and the Public Prosecutor for offering you the alternative charge,“ he said.
Doan, 31, who was standing in the dock, then spoke in Vietnamese and thanked the judge, lawyers and everybody involved in the trial. It was translated by the court interpreter.
“I want to say thank you to the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the court, deputy public prosecutors, lawyers, the Vietnamese Embassy and the media,” she said.
Earlier during mitigation, her lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, said it was his client’s first offence in the country and that she regretted doing it.
“She has been in prison since her detention on Feb 15, 2017. My client is also not responsible for what happened on that day of the incident,” he added.
Deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Iskandar Ahmad, who prosecuted, in asking for a commensurable sentence, asked the court to take into account the seriousness of the offence as it happened at a public place, klia2.
He said the court should also take into account public interest.
Doan was charged with four others still at large with voluntarily causing hurt on Jong-nam by smearing VX nerve agent on his face at the departure hall of the KL International Airport 2 (klia2) at 9am on Feb 13, 2017.
The charge was framed under Section 324 of the Penal Code which provides an imprisonment for up to 10 years, or fine , or whipping, or any two of the punishment, upon conviction.
Doan was initially charged with murdering Jong-nam and she was supposed to enter her defence on the charge today, but the prosecution offered her an alternative charge with voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous means.
Muhammad Iskandar informed the court that the defence had submitted a second representation seeking the AGC to review the murder charge.
“Therefore, the prosecution offers an alternative charge under Section 324 of the Penal Code against the accused,” he added.
Hisyam, asked when his client would be released, said Doan, who is detained at the Kajang prison, is scheduled to complete her jail time on May 5.
The Shah Alam High Court had, on March 11, given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal to the other accused in the case, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, after the prosecution withdrew the charge against her. She has since returned to Indonesia.
Doan then sent a representation to the AGC to review the charge against her, but it was dismissed.
Following which, she sent a second representation to the AGC.
The court had, on Aug 16 last year, ordered Siti Aisyah and Doan to enter their defence on the charge of murdering Jong-nam at the same place, date and time.
Kim Chol’s murder trial started on Oct 2, 2017, whereby 34 witnesses were called to testify.
It was a high profile case that received wide coverage by both local and foreign media, with tight security present.
Both the accused would normally arrive at the courthouse in bullet-proof vests and escorted by heavily-armed guards.
The media members, only one from each organisation, were not allowed to bring electronic gadgets, such as cellphones and laptops into the court room.
At the prosecution stage of the trial, Chemical Weapon Centre of the Malaysian Chemistry Department, Dr. S. Raja testified that Kim Chol’s death was caused by the nerve agent VX and it was the second incident with the weapon to happen in the world and the first in Malaysia. — Bernama