Magistrate dismisses remand application of eight suspected of gambling activities

Counsel Shankar Ram (fourth from right) and counsel Russell Lim (third from right) with their clients.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Feb 5: Magistrate’s Court here dismissed the remand application filed by the police to investigate seven men and one woman who were suspected to be involved in gambling activity in a house in Stutong Baru.

The eight local suspects were arrested by a team of D7 police from the Sarawak Police Contingent Headquarters ( IPK Sarawak) under Op-Limau at a house in Stutong Baru, at about 6.55pm, on February 4.

During the raid, the police found the suspects were gambling at the living room of the said house. They were in front of the poker table and were playing a gambling game called “poker”.

The case is being investigated under Section 6(1) of the Common Gaming House Act 1953.

They were brought before Magistrate Syarifah Fatimah Azura Wan Ali by the police to apply for remand under Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The eight suspects were represented by Counsel Shankar Ram.

Shankar in his submission today said that the offence that they were investigated under is a non-seizable offence.

He said, the police can arrest them and they can face the charge but the police cannot remand them.

He quoted a former Magistrate’s Court decision on a similar matter in 2012 where Magistrate Pradeep Singh dismissed the remand application.

He said Magistrate Pradeep Singh, after hearing the prosecution and counsel for the suspect find that there is no reasonable ground for remand to be granted.

“I believe the investigation can be done even if the suspects are released on police bail because this is a gambling offence.

“Indeed it was committed within the premises of the house, prima facie is not a public place.

Even though there is merit in the prosecution argument to investigate it under Section 7(2) which it is entitled to do so, that does not mean that the remand application ought to be granted under 117 for investigation so the remand was dismissed .”

Therefore the remand application was then dismissed by Magistrate Syarifah.

Investigating Officer Inspector Rupitan Timbang applied for remand. – Dayakdaily