Court of Appeal quashes conviction of policeman found guilty of cheating due to technicality

The appellant (second right) talking to his counsels outside the Court. Shankar Ram is at right.

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By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, April 25: The Court of Appeal here quashed the conviction and sentence of a policeman who was convicted on four charges of dishonestly inducing a woman to hand over a total of RM56,634.20.

Initially, Wan Halmi Wan Omar, was charged with five amended charges under Section 420 of the Penal Code and punishable under Section 34 of the Penal Code. He was then discharged and acquitted of one charge.


For the first single charge, Sessions Court Judge Jason Juga who sat in as Magistrate convicted the appellant of the charge of dishonestly induced a woman to hand over RM44,634.20 cash as she was persuaded that the appellant could help to settle a criminal breach of trust case involving the victim’s brother, at a petrol station in Sri Aman, at about 1pm on August 14, 2013.

He was sentenced to an imprisonment of 2 years 6 months with one stroke of whipping and to a fine of RM8,000 or in default to imprisonment of 8 months.

On April 25, 2017, Judge Jason acquitted and discharged the appellant on the first amended charge, where the appellant and a man who is still at large, were charged with dishonestly inducing the same woman to hand over RM6,900 cash as she believed they could help to settle the debts incurred by the purchase of air-conditioners that owed by the victim’s brother, in front of Betong Community College, at about 4.30pm on January 10, 2013.

However, on April 25, the appellant was convicted on the amended second charge where he and a man who is still at large, were charged with dishonestly inducing the woman to hand over RM1,000 cash by persuading her to believe they could help to settle the debts that the victim’s brother had owed to loan sharks, at the counter area of Betong Public Library, at about 12pm on December 27, 2012.

He was sentenced to imprisonment of 18 months and one stroke of whipping, and to a fine of RM4,000 or in default to four months’ imprisonment.

He was also convicted and sentenced to imprisonment of 18 months and with one stroke of whipping and to a fine or RM4,000 or in default to four months’ imprisonment on a third amended charge, where he was found guilty of dishonestly inducing the same woman to hand over RM5,000 cash as she believed that he could help to settle the debts owed by the victim’s brother to loan sharks, in front of Betong Public Library, at about 6pm on December 28, 2012.

For the fourth charge, the appellant was convicted and sentenced to a jail term of 18 months, and a stroke of whipping, and to a fine of RM8,000 or in default to 8 months’ imprisonment. He was found guilty of dishonestly inducing the woman to hand over RM6,000 cash as she believed he could help to settle the debts owed by the victim’s brother to loan sharks, in front of a house in Kampung Baru, at about 8pm on January 5, 2013.

On January 11, 2018, Wan Halmi lodged his Notice of Appeal to the High Court against the conviction and sentence by the Magistrate’s Court.

On January 19, 2018, the prosecution lodged their Notice of Cross-Appeal to the High Court against the inadequacy of the sentence passed by the Magistrate.

On September 5, 2019, the High Court dismissed both the appellant’s appeal and the prosecution’s cross-appeal and affirmed the decision of the Magistrate.

On September 17, 2019, the appellant filed Notice of Motion seeking leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Leave to appeal was granted by the Court of Appeal as there was a fundamental flaw in the trial and proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court here as four charges were preferred against the appellant in one docket case file, which is breaches the trite provision of Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), where it is specifically stated that the charges tried in one trial should not exceed three.

Today, the Court of Appeal found that there are merits to the appellant’s appeal and also found that the prosecution had failed to comply with Section 164 of the CPC.

The appellant was represented by Counsels Shankar Ram, Russell Lim and Yu Ying Ying in this appeal case. — DayakDaily