A youth, who was charged with theft of a mobile phone which triggered a riot outside Low Yat Plaza three years ago, was today acquitted by the Court of Appeal on technical grounds.
Justice Mohtarudin Baki, in reading the unanimous decision of the three-member bench, said there was a serious misdirection of justice by the magistrate in imposing a four-month jail term and RM1,000 fine on Shahrul Anuar Abdul Aziz, now 25, that tantamounts to a miscarriage of justice.
Shahrul, who is now a student at a tahfiz school in Bukit Beruntung, Rawang, attended the court proceedings today in a white jubah and turban, according to Sinar Harian Online.
"The magistrate, in his notes of evidence, had stated that the prosecution had prima facie to call the accused to enter his defence, but in the grounds of judgment, it was stated that the accused was guilty of the offence, and must enter his defence," said Justice Mohtarudin.
He added that the defence was called, and the accused had only to rebut the prosecution's case to create a reasonable doubt.
"Therefore, the appeal against the sentence is allowed and the accused, acquitted. The prosecution's appeal is dismissed."
The other two judges on the bench were Justices Yaacob Md Sam and Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil.
Mohtarudin, however, said that he had "reason to believe" that Shahrul had indeed stolen the phone, and asked him to repent, and take it as a "test from Allah".
Shahrul was represented by lawyer Shaharudin Ali while deputy public prosecutor Tengku Intan Suraya Tengku Ismail prosecuted.
On May 24, 2016, the Magistrate's Court in Kuala Lumpur sentenced Shahrul to four months in jail and fined RM1,000 for stealing a Lenovo S860 mobile phone worth RM800 from a shop in Low Yat Plaza.
The offence was reportedly committed on July 11, 2015.
His action caused a much-publicised riot outside the mall, which saw Malay NGOs giving it a racial twist, crying discrimination and cheating by traders.
On April 5, 2017, the High Court upheld the sentence and rejected Shahrul's appeal against his sentencing.
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