PUTRAJAYA: A man charged with stealing a RM800 smartphone at Low Yat Plaza in 2015 was freed on technical grounds;
Free Malaysia Today reported that a three-man Court of Appeal bench chaired by Datuk Mohtarudin Baki said there was merit in Shahrul Anuar Abdul Aziz’s appeal against his convicton.
“There was a serious misdirection by the magistrate which tantamounts to a miscarriage of justice,” said Mohtarudin who sat with Datuk Yaacob Md Sam and Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil.
Mohtarudin said the magistrate in his notes of evidence had found that the prosecution had established a prima facie case to call Shahrul Anuar, 25, to enter his defence.
“However, the magistrate in his grounds of judgment had stated the accused was guilty of the offence and he must enter his defence,” Mohtarudin said.
“However, I have reason to believe that you committed the offence,” he said, advising Shahrul to repent if he had indeed stolen the phone and to take the whole episode as a test from Allah if he was innocent.
Earlier, during the proceedings, Mohtarudin also remarked that the court had the power to order a retrial.
Mohtarudin said the prosecution’s cross-appeal against inadequacy of sentence was also nullified since Shahrul’s appeal had been allowed.
On April 5, High Court Judicial Commissioner Ab Karim Ab Rahman ruled that the magistrate did not make any error in finding Shahrul Anuar guilty of stealing the phone.
“Therefore, the court finds you guilty under Section 379 of the Penal Code for theft instead of Section 380, which was the original charge,” he said.
Shahrul claimed trial on July 14, 2015, under Section 380 to committing theft inside a building.
Karim also dismissed the prosecution’s appeal to increase Shahrul’s four-month jail sentence and RM1,000 fine.
The accused’s lawyer Shaharudin Ali, told the bench that the magistrate was prejudiced that his client was guilty of the offence although he was ordered to enter his defence.
“The duty of the accused is only to create a doubt in the prosecution’s case to get an acquittal,” said Shahruddin, who was assisted by Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz.
In 2015, Shahrul was jailed four months and fined RM1,000 by the magistrate’s court for stealing the phone.
The incident resulted in a much-publicised racial riot outside the mall, with Malay NGOs claiming discrimination and cheating by traders.
Following that, Mara Digital Mall, also known as “Low Yat 2”, was launched on Dec 8, 2015 specifically for Malay-Bumiputera traders.