Man jailed for six months for burying woman’s body

National 3 minutes, 13 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A COLLEGE counsellor who admitted to concealing the body of a dead woman under stones and cement was sentenced to six months in jail and fined $1,000 by the Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

A court document submitted by prosecuting officer Mohammad Danial DSP Hj Kifrawi said that on February 13, 2013, the defendant, Hj Harith Hj Bakir concealed Voon Su Ching’s body in a 10-foot ditch at Kg Salambigar after she died suddenly due to coughing and heavy breathing.

Hj Harith, who was having an affair with Voon, then panicked and failed to report the sudden death to the police. Instead, he used several zinc roofing sheets from nearby and shrubs to cover the deceased’s body. He also took Voon’s car and abandoned it at a nearby electrical power station.

Before leaving with his car, Hj Harith took Voon’s handbag containing her belongings — money amounting to $7,167.90, RM803.85 and a Singapore five-cent coin, a gold locket and a $40 Easi Card.

After being questioned by the police over Voon’s disappearance a few days later, Hj Harith used an alias to hire a company to supply him with stones and cement to cover the ditch where Voon’s body was hidden.

The defendant used Voon’s money to pay for the stones and cement as well as to give tips to the workers.

On February 18, 2013, Hj Harith was arrested by the police when he went to a house at Kg Salambigar after being contacted by Voon’s brother-in-law, Wong Soon Wen.

Wong obtained the defendant’s number after calling the company which had supplied the cement and stones after learning from the house owner that the ditch had been cemented over and that there was a stench in the area.

The police, which turned up the same time as the defendant, recognised Hj Harith from their earlier questioning. The defendant confessed to concealing the deceased’s body under the stones and cement.

It took four and a half hours for Fire and Rescue Service personnel to drill into the hardened cement and stones before they found Voon’s body.

The police also recovered money and Voon’s belongings on February 19, 2013, that was kept at the defendant’s office at Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah College.

By the time a post-mortem conducted by specialist pathologist, the deceased’s body was decomposing. There were no obvious injuries detected in the soft tissue and there were no fractures in the bones. The autopsy report said that the soft tissue including the organs were decomposing making it impossible to identify any diseases or superficial soft tissue injuries as the cause of death.

In the sentencing verdict yesterday, senior magistrate Muhammed Faisal PDJLD DSP Hj Kefli said that the defendant had failed to do what would have been proper, that is to call the emergency services to help the deceased and inform the authorities of her death. Instead, he embarked on actions which finally led him to court.

The magistrate said that Hj Harith had also caused anxiety to the family of the deceased.

The magistrate said that an aggravating factor was that after deliberately hiding the body, the defendant returned a few days later and made attempts to arrange for stones and cement to be poured over the body in order to conceal it.

The magistrate also said that the defendant had deliberately concealed his identity and used the defendant’s money which he has misappropriated to pay for the stones and the cement.

The magistrate said that the court would not give much weight to the fact that the defendant had cooperated with the investigations as this was only done when his role in this matter was discovered partly by chance and partly by police investigations.

Hj Harith has already begun serving his jail sentence from Monday after his bail was revoked by the court.

The Brunei Times