Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cop gets maximum jail - Daily Express

Cop gets maximum jail

Kota Kinabalu: A police detective corporal was handed a maximum sentence of seven years by the High Court, Tuesday, for intentionally omitting information related to terrorist acts.

Judge Ravinthran Paramaguru meted out the sentence to Hassan Hj Ali Basari, who was attached to the Lahad Datu Special Branch, after finding him guilty of the charge.

Ravinthran said the security of Malaysia, in particular Sabah, was jeopardised due to Hassan's act of not disclosing the vital information.

Hassan, 61, was convicted of committing the offence between January and March 3 this year in the office of the Special Branch chief at the Lahad Datu Police Headquarters.

The charge, under Section 130M of the Penal Code, carries a jail term of up to seven years or fine or both on conviction. Hassan, who has been held under remand since his arrest, was ordered to serve the jail term from the date of his arrest on March 2.

Hassan was calm during the sentencing, shook hands and was hugged by family members who were in tears and looked frustrated over the sentence, before he was whisked away from the courtroom.

Ravinthran held that based on three crucial evidences as well as Hassan's unsworn statement, he found that it does not raise any reasonable doubt.

The crucial evidences Ravinthran said were that that the prosecution's first protected witness gave information about those who were about to enter Sabah in January this year and the two intercepted communications were corroborative as well as information on future landing that never took place.

Although it had not taken place and even if not committed, Hassan ought to give such information to his superior, said Ravinthran.

"You were a Special Branch personnel based in Lahad Datu where the intrusion took place.

You received this information and did not disclose it. Therefore you stand in a different case as you are legally bound to do so.

"Although you have served 38 years with the police, it is insignificant to the offence committed. Therefore, very little credit to a long service. Health factor should not be given any credit because you are healthy enough to work," said Ravinthran.

Earlier, one of Hassan's counsel, Ram Singh, requested for a lenient sentence on the grounds that Hassan has been working for the police since 1975, was a first offender and never had any trouble or committed any offence before.

Ram said Hassan still believed that he is innocent and a victim of circumstances.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Dato' Nordin Hassan urged the court to impose the maximum punishment to Hassan as it was the only appropriate sentence for the offence committed by Hassan as well as serve as a warning and deter others from committing the same.

"The consequence of his omission is very serious and unacceptable by all Malaysians.

Malaysia was intruded by armed terrorists from the Sulu Sultanate on Feb. 12 at Kg Tanduo.

"Malaysia's sovereignty, security and standing was adversely affected not just in our eyes but also the world. This was, among others, caused by Hassan's omission from informing the information the first protected witness had given him, to his superior officers even though the said witness had reminded him to do so.

"The Malaysian security forces would have been better prepared to face the intrusion at Kg Tanduo or to avoid it from happening altogether had they the important information.

"The intrusion of Kg Tanduo has become a black mark in the country's history and will be a bitter memory to all Malaysians who love their country," said Nordin.

Because of the intrusion by the terrorists, a number of the country's armed forces were injured or killed while heroically defending the country's sovereignty, he added.

"The government had to spend a lot of the people's money to deal with the intrusion by the terrorists to ensure the safety of the community. Many personal property such as houses were destroyed because of the intrusion.

"Hassan was given the responsibility by the Special Branch to collect information on the threat of the Sulu Sultanate but having received the information from the prosecution's first protected witness about the Sulu Sultanate's intention to intrude into Sabah, he intentionally omitted from informing the same to his superiors.

"This is clearly a dereliction of the accused's duty and treason against the country which he as a police personnel was bound to serve and protect," said Nordin.

The prosecution had called 18 witnesses at the prosecution stage while Hassan gave his unsworn statement in his defence in the four day trial.

Nordin appeared together with DPPs Nazrul Nizam Mohd Zameri, Cheng Heng Kher and Anati Kisahi while Ram together with counsel Kamarudin Mohamad Chinki and YS Lo defended Hassan.

The defence team said they would appeal against the court's decision.
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