Indonesian charged with outraging modesty released on $10,000 bail

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

AN Indonesian national charged with aggravated outrage of modesty of a 25-year-old woman was yesterday granted release on a $10,000 bail with attached conditions.

Muhammad Mahdi, 41, who was represented yesterday by defence counsel Sheikh Noordin Sheikh Mohammad, will have to report every two weeks to the case’s investigating officer beginning May 16, while his passport remains impounded.

The court also ordered that the defendant must remain contactable at all times, and that he is not allowed to contact any case witnesses, particularly the victim and her parents, while he is released.

During court proceedings yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Shamsuddin Hj Kamaluddin initially objected to the defendant’s release on bail, citing that Muhammad Mahdi was a foreigner who had “no strong connections” to Brunei Darussalam.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Noordin said the defendant, who has been residing in Brunei since 1998, and whose family members are also currently residing in Brunei, “have developed good relationships with many in the country, including family, friends and past employers.”

He said the defendant also performs community service in the form of teaching the Quran.

Presiding Magistrate Pengiran Shahyzul Khairuddien Pg Abdul Rahman said that there may be risk that the defendant will abscond while on bail, but ultimately granted the defendant bail after taking into consideration the information presented by both the prosecution and the defence counsel.

The magistrate has also set 10 trial dates from December 13, 2015, to January 25, 2016 during the session yesterday.

Muhammad Mahdi first claimed trial on April 30 when he pleaded not guilty to the charge of using criminal force and voluntarily causing wrongful restraint on Miss X in March this year.

He was accused of forcefully pulling Miss X to him, touching her private parts, kissing her, and forcing her to hold his genitals while at a house in Berakas.

The Brunei Times