Wednesday, August 29, 2012



Cynics have called ‘Justice’ a circus. When you buy a ticket to the circus you get clowns along with lion-tamers, while trapeze artistes inspire the cheerleaders. But it does become a curious  scandalous mess is neat and categorised. Cash and sex are the north and south pole of mass interest, each with a sprawling magnetic field. We divide the hemispheres with the equator of logic. Cash and corruption are the preserve of politics. Sex is the province of glamour. We refuse to recognise any cross-over evidence.extravaganza when you can’t tell the difference between who is who.courts should focus more on justice a nation that cannot uphold its law cannot preserve its order. When Anderson was smuggled out to safety, the authority of state abandoned the responsibility of state. Excuses, evasions and lies have shifted over 26 years; this central truth has not.t is odd that the government should have chosen law and order as its final alibi after some exhausting self-laceration in its search for a credible explanation for the escape of how two rapists escaped jail sentences because they were considered youthful offenders. judgment served only one useful purpose. The sheer scale of its magnanimity towards the accused lit a fuse under the volcano of collective guilt. The lava is spewing from myriad crevices, scorching and burning many-layered masks that have hidden deceit for a generation. As memories were stoked, officials, some perhaps frustrated by the fact that their silence had not been rewarded,
 Why do we say “law and order” rather than “order and law”? Simple. Law comes before order. Law defines the nature of order. Law is the difference between civilization and chaos. Law is evolutionary: the edicts of tribes, chiefs and dynasties lifted human societies from scattered peril to structured coexistence. The laws of democracy have vaulted us to the acme of social cohesion, for they eliminated arbitrary diktat and introduced collective will. The divine right of kings is dead; it has been reborn as the  right of  the Court of Appeal judges


 Child rights groups said today that the courts should focus more on justice for victims of child rape cases and not perpetrators’ bright futures, amid a public uproar over how two rapists escaped jail sentences because they were considered youthful offenders.Nobody can protect you better than yourself! Trust your instincts and fight back!
It is a sad reflection on our society that women feel unsafe and unprotected not just on deserted roads and car parks, but even in their own homes. Young lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha was attacked and killed by her watchman in what should be the most secure place — her own bedroom! Pallavi’s case has shaken the confidence of the bravest of girls. In the aftermath of the horrific news, a single friend asked in distress, “Does that mean we cannot trust any man?”
I hate to say this, but yes, it does seem like it. Better safe than sorry… or worse. When work and lifestyles dictate that women need to travel alone, live alone and commute alone, how does a woman ensure her own safety?
I think it is important to be prepared for the worst. However dire this may sound, the only way to defend yourself is to take measures against the worst that can happen. Most girls are caught unprepared. Make a note of your most vulnerable moments when you can be overpowered and guard against those.
Trust your womanly instincts about people and situations. Be alert to your surroundings and aware of the first signs of danger. If you feel someone is following you, step into a crowded place. Call a friend or relative to escort you back.
As you get into or out of your car, watch out for anyone lurking around or a single man in the car parked next to yours. Run back to safety if you are suspicious. Always walk confidently, don’t look lost. It is proven that criminals target the lost, scared-looking women. I read advice from a cop that said even if the assailant has a gun, try and get away; there is only 4 in 100 chance that he will be able to get a hit!
Feed in the police control room number or 100 into your speed dial. Also have a friend or relative on speed dial. When in vulnerable spots, keep a pepper spray handy. Spray it into the eyes of an assailant. A perfume bottle or hairspray are good alternatives. Supreme Court lawyer Shilpi Jain urges single women to learn self-defence techniques and apply for licenced pistols, to keep in touch with neighbours and call the police patrol at the first sign of danger. “The law is clear that in self-defence you can attack anybody though you must not harm them more than necessary.”
Politeness could be your undoing. Never open the door to a stranger when alone nor stop to help another in a deserted area. Call the cops instead. When a mechanic or plumber is due home for work, request a neighbour or friend to be present.
Door keys should never be left in obvious places. Once inside, do not leave them next to the main door. This is the mistake Pallavi made. Dress appropriately, as per occasion. Clothes that may seem appropriate inside a bar will look provocative when alone in a deserted area.
Remember we live in a world of sharp contrasts — the haves and the have-nots, the educated and the uneducated, the cultured and the uncultured. To flash wealth or flesh, or to be perceived to be free with your favours, is to tip the balance, and invite trouble!
The groups expressed concern at what appears to be a legal trend of letting convicted child rapists avoid a jail sentence, following two recent cases where two young men were each released on a RM25,000 good behaviour bond.
Former national bowler Noor Afizal Azizan and electrician Chuah Guan Jiu, were 19 and 21 respectively when they committed the offence of rape on girls who were then aged 13 and 12.
Dr Hartini Zainudin from Yayasan Chow Kit and Voice of the Children spoke out strongly against the judges’ decision in both cases.
“Why are the judges talking about bright futures of the perpetrators? … Where is the consideration given to these young girls? Their futures? What does this say about young children raped?”
The “future” of the convicted offenders was one of the factors that the courts considered in arriving at their decision.
She also pointed out that “consensual sex can only happen if a child is 16 and above,” in reference to the courts’ consideration of apparent consent in the two cases.
“It seems there is no justice for a child victim to step forward and testify because somehow, even if they were coerced, tricked, wooed, it was consensual if there was no sign of force,” she added.
Hartini said that “judges better be more sensitive to the welfare and protection of the child — justice for them first.”
She also said there is a “very dangerous and ominous message” that “basically says, paedophiles, you can manipulate the system and victims, your rapist will get away with the crime.”
Childline project director Michelle Wong shared Hartini’s view, saying that “with the judgment on the convicted rapists, we are concerned that people will not treat statutory rape as a serious offence.”
“It’s trivialising the impact on the victim, who is still a child.”
Wong also feared that the judges’ decision would give the impression that even a 12-year-old is able to give consent as if deemed legal in court.
“Statutory rape already assumes that consent cannot be given. Why are we suddenly saying that a 12 year old giving it is alright?” said Wong.
“There is a concern that this is a precedent to be set in adult-child cases. As both the offenders are adults, the cases should be carefully looked at.
“(W)e are concerned that a child’s right to protection has been violated and statutory rape cases should have a greater focus on the child victim for whose protection the law was designed, than solely on the perpetrator,” she said in a statement to The Malaysian Insider.
Voice Of the Children’s chairman Sharmila Sekaran said, “It is disturbing to see the court lightly following the previous bowler case as a precedence.”
“The victim’s rights comes first, and we should consider her best interests. With the public outrage, it is quite clear that they feel that not enough attention is being given,” she said in a phone interview.
P.S. The Children executive director P. Nagasayee Malathy said the court sentence would create a negative impression, especially among vulnerable adolescents where there is a lack of awareness.
Malathy also said that the country “should look from the best interest of the child (who is a victim)”, pointing out that Malaysia had signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
In a press statement today, he said at the same time, the courts would only be too happy to take cognisance of any salient point resultant from legitimate public criticism of a judicial decision as a means to ensure “justice is served” in a complex criminal case, particularly involving child offenders.
“There is no question of our judges misusing the opportunities presented at a judicial review in the overall interest of the civil society. It demands wisdom as well as knowledge and unity of the judges to arrive at a legally acceptable decision where public interest is rightfully served,” he said.
Ramalingam said the public should allow the long arm of the law to take its due course in order to implement the principles of a judicial review which is enshrined in our court system.
He added that the courts would not be offended in a cause for action in a review which in effect, would be a “second bite of the cherry” for justice to be served to the fullest.
“In the end, the court will come out clean and its excellent judicial performance will be glorified as it will set a binding precedent,” he said.
On August 8, the Appeals Court allowed Noor Afizal’s appeal to restore the Sessions Court’s decision which bound him over for good behaviour for five years for a sum of RM25,000 for committing statutory rape.
A three-member panel led by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Raus Md Sharif unanimously set aside the five-year jail term imposed on Noor Afizal by the Malacca High Court in allowing the prosecution’s appeal for an enhanced sentence.
On July 5, last year, the Malacca Sessions Court bound over Noor Afizal, 21, for good behaviour on a bond of RM25,000 for five years in one surety after he pleaded guilty to committing the offence on a 13-year-old girl at a hotel in Ayer Keroh, Malacca between 12.30am and 5am on June 5, 2009.
The Sessions Court, in binding him over, considered several factors, including that there was a consensual sexual relationship between him and the girl.
He was given a five-year jail sentence by the Malacca High Court on September 20 last year, which allowed the appeal brought by the prosecution which was dissatisfied with the Sessions Court’s decision.
Noor Afizal represented Negeri Sembilan between 2004 and 2010 and also represented Malaysia in the National Youth Category for five years (2004-2008).
He also bowled in the Thailand International Open championship in April this year, and is expected to represent Kedah in several upcoming tournaments such as the KL International Open Championship 2012
“The street Romeo hurled acid on a girl’s face, but how did the cops go blind,” asked a women’s activist with a crestfallen face in reaction to the police decision not to register a case in the two-week-old acid attack on a lecturer. The reason the cops gave for letting the attacker go free was the girl’s father refused to register a complaint, as that would be a stigma on the family.
The activist said it seems the police are just waiting for a complainant to be disinterested to drop a case. Many other activists said nothing makes a cop happier than a man saying that he does not want to register a complaint, but came to the police station just because he was scared. After he walks out, the proud cops brandish a statement taken in writing that the man does not want to lodge a complaint.
In the fortnight-old incident, a lecturer was attacked with acid by a jilted lover at a busy public place. Senior police officers were happy to get a written declaration from the girl’s family that they did not want to register a complaint for the sake of their reputation. The outcome: while the girl is still in hospital fighting the trauma of serious burn injuries, the Romeo is free as a bird after the formality of some ‘preventive action’.
The next day, a senior cop from Ambazari police station remained busy the entire day threatening the media not to name of the girl’s family or report the story. He claimed the family will drag scribes to court for reporting the acid attack. Every time a journalist called up the cops to enquire about the shocking incident, they were told that the girl’s father has already gone to the office of a newspaper to protest against coverage, so no one should report the incident.
However, a renowned legal practitioner said of the attitude of senior officers, “The officer-in-charge of a police station should recall section 154 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, which makes it his duty to reduce oral or written information about a cognizable offence into a complaint. It is not his duty to inform the media about the provisions of defamation that the girl’s father threatened to invoke.”
In a similar case around a year ago, a woman approached Kalamna police station with the complaint that her minor daughter was abused by a neighbour. Police conducted a medical test and found the facts could be true. As they were about to register an offence of rape, the neighbour approached the girl’s mother, apologized for the act and promised not to trouble her again regarding petty issues in the locality. The immediately asked the cops not to register an offence.
There was also the incident of kidnapping of a senior lawyer by his former female attorney, who was demanding justice for being seduced over a decade without fulfilment of promises made during the emotional time. There had been a daylong drama at Sakkardara police station. A senior officer was called from another zone to Sakkardara to supervise the matter, but to his surprise no offence was registered, neither kidnapping nor rape. After keeping the cops on the tenterhooks for several hours, the parties decided to furnish in writing that they had no complaints against each other.The issue of abortion coverage for victims of rape was pushed into the national spotlight when my colleague on the House Armed Services Committee uttered his now infamous “legitimate rape” phrase

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