Hearing of teenager charged with murder of 23 people in tahfiz fire continues on June 11

KUALA LUMPUR May 14 — The defence proceeding of a teenager charged with killing 23 occupants of Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah three years ago will continue at the High Court here on June 11 and 12.

Deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim told Bernama through a Whatsapp application today that she was informed on the date through an email from the court last May 12.

She said today was set for case management.

Last April 20, lawyer Mohd Haijan Omar, representing the accused, who is now 19, said his client had finished giving his testimony and the defence would call three other witnesses.

The accused testified from the witness stand on March 2 and 3.

On Jan 28, Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah ordered the teenager to enter his defence for the charge after the prosecution succeeded in establishing a prima facie case against him, who was 16 when the tragedy occurred.

However, the judge acquitted and discharged another person charged with him, also of the same age, without calling for his defence.

They were jointly charged with murdering and causing the death of the 23 inmates at the tahfiz centre at Jalan Keramat Hujung, Kampung Datuk Keramat, Wangsa Maju here, between 4.15 am and 6.45 am on Sept 14, 2017.

The charge, under Section 302 of the Penal Code, carries a mandatory death penalty upon conviction.

However, Section 97(1) of the Child Act 2001 states that a death sentence shall not be pronounced or recorded against a person convicted of an offence if the child is under the age of 18, and in lieu of the death sentence, as provided under Section 97 (2) of the same law, the court shall order the person to be detained at the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Section 94 of the same law also empowers the court to order the parents or guardians of the child offender to pay fine or compensation.

Those killed in the tragedy were 21 students and two teachers when they were trapped on the third floor of the religious residential school hostel.

— BERNAMA

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