Senior assistant teacher acquitted of child sexual assault charges, prosecution fails to establish prima facie case

Shankar (right) and Lim (second right) in a discussion at the Kuching Sessions Court lobby while others look on.

KUCHING, Aug 29: The Sessions Court here today acquitted a 46-year-old senior assistant teacher of sexually assaulting a then 12-year-old student in 2019 after the close of the prosecution’s case, without the need for the accused to enter his defense.

Zakeria Chee was charged on July 6, 2020 with five charges under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Daniel Mohamad Ali called six prosecution witnesses.

During the ruling today, Sessions Court Judge Dayang Ellyn Narisa Abang Ahmad held among others, that the child victim contradicted himself on many material points during the trial.

She found that there was also confusion as to the location specified in the charge sheets and this was further contradicted by the inconsistent evidence by the investigating officer.

The Sessions Judge also found that the evidence by the prosecution’s witnesses did not support the child victim’s case but was mere reiteration.

Thus, the judge found that it was unsafe to act on the uncorroborated evidence of the child victim.

As such, it was held that the Prosecution has failed to establish a prima facie case and that the accused person was not guilty on all the charges.

The accused was represented by counsels Shankar Ram Asnani, Yu Ying Ying and Russell Lim. — DayakDaily