High Court junks appeal vs 8-week jail term

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THE High Court yesterday upheld YAM Pg Muda Abdul Mu’min’s eight-week jail sentence after the chief justice ruled that the sentences were not excessive.

YAM was ordered to serve eight weeks in jail last February 3 after pleading guilty to providing false information to a police officer during a traffic accident investigation, driving while on a one-year suspension, and driving without a third party insurance coverage.

YAM filed an appeal against the jail sentence, but was dismissed yesterday when Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Hj Kifrawi DP Hj Kifli said the sentence passed against the appellant was “neither manifestly excessive in the circumstance nor wrong in principle”.

Delivering the appeal verdict, the chief justice said giving false information to the police to evade prosecution was a serious offence and the court should impose a custodial sentence even to a first-time offender, and that driving while under disqualification and without insurance were serious offences.

“Not only does the offender drive in a blatant disregard of a court order, the offender also compromised the safety of our roads and if he caused an injury to someone, that person will be unable to recover any compensation if the offender cannot pay as no insurance company will be liable,” said the chief justice.

He added that after considering the mitigating and aggravating factors, as well as facts and circumstances of the case, it was in the public interest that a custodial sentence was ordered against the appellant.

“By falsely informing the police another person was the driver, the defendant had also caused unnecessary interrogation of an innocent person and this also wasted police’s time and resources,” said the chief justice.

On the charges of driving on November 19, 2014 while under disqualification and without insurance, the chief justice said the senior magistrate had noted that the appellant drove to the gym, which was not an emergency, life or death situation.

He further agreed with the senior magistrate that the appellant did not show genuine remorse as he had continued to drive on November 19, 2014 when he was banned from doing so despite having first appeared in court nine days earlier when the trial charges were still pending.

He said the offences committed on November 19, 2014 were not first offences but repeat offences.

During the appeal, YAM Pg Muda Abdul Mu’min was represented by defence counsel Balendran Balasingam of Ho & Siong Advocates, while the respondent was represented by deputy public prosecutors, Hjh Anifa Rafiza Hj Abd Ghani and Dk Siti Nurul Fairuz Pg Rosli.

The Brunei Times