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HomeMalaysia NewsHigh Court Alters Ex-Judge's Sentence to One Day for Corruption Conviction

High Court Alters Ex-Judge’s Sentence to One Day for Corruption Conviction

In a noteworthy turn of events, the Shah Alam High Court has amended the sentencing of former judge Azmil Muntapha Abas, reducing the initially imposed six-month prison term to a mere one day. The case revolves around Azmil’s receipt of RM5,000 without consideration, leading to his conviction. Judge Hasbullah Adam, delivering the verdict, expressed contentment with the lower court’s conviction findings, deeming them sound and dismissing the appeal against the conviction. However, exercising discretion, the High Court modified the sentence, substituting the original six-month term with a symbolic one-day imprisonment and reducing the fine from RM25,000 to RM12,000, with a default option of three months’ imprisonment.

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Background:

Azmil Muntapha faced charges stemming from his role as a Sessions Court judge, accused of unlawfully obtaining RM5,000 without consideration from an individual with connections to his official duties involving court proceedings for six accused persons charged under Section 9 of the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953 (Act 289). Notably, Azmil had imposed fines on these individuals for their alleged offenses.

Reasoning Behind Sentence Modification:

Judge Hasbullah underscored the merit in the appeal against the sentence, emphasizing the absence of a mandatory provision mandating imprisonment and the fundamental element of the offense—receiving valuable items without consideration. Distinguishing it from Section 17(a) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, which outlines a maximum imprisonment of 20 years and a fine five times the value of the gratification, the court considered factors such as the lack of a mandatory imprisonment requirement and the role of a prosecution witness as a potential temptation for the appellant.

Timeline of Proceedings:

On October 19, 2022, Sessions Court judge Rasyihah Ghazali had initially sentenced Azmil Muntapha after determining that the defense failed to raise a reasonable doubt against the prosecution’s case. However, the High Court granted a stay of the execution of the jail sentence pending an appeal, concurrently increasing the bail amount from RM6,000 to RM12,000. This latest development prompts scrutiny of the case’s intricacies and the factors influencing the revision of the sentence, raising questions about the overall legal proceedings.