PUTRAJAYA, Sept 14 — Housewife Yim Pek Ha should be acquitted and discharged as there are doubts whether she is the person who inflicted injuries on Indonesian maid Nirmala Bonat, the Court of Appeal heard today.
Yim’s lawyer Datuk Jagjit Singh said there were numerous contradictions and discrepancies in Nirmala’s testimony as to when she was alleged to have been assaulted.
He said Nirmala testified that she stood still when a hot iron and hot water was placed on her.
“Is it a natural conduct of a person to stand unmoved when the hot iron was placed or even hot water splashed on her,” said Jagjit Singh in Yim’s appeal against a High Court’s decision to jail her for 12 years for causing grievous hurt to her Indonesian maid.
Jagjit Singh contended that the injuries suffered by Nirmala on her thighs due to hot water were self-inflicted as the hot water was poured and not splashed when Nirmala was in a seating position.
He said the High Court judge failed to evaluate testimony of three prosecution witnesses who did not rule out that the injuries sustained by Nirmala could be self-inflicted.
Jagjit said it was the duty of the Court of Appeal to weigh the respective theories carefully and dispassionately in order to reach a clear conclusion of fact.
“Based on the totality of evidence presented in the court, one cannot say it is clear beyond doubt that it is the accused (Yim) and no one else who caused the injuries (on Nirmala),” he said.
Another lawyer representing Yim, Akhbardin Abdul Kader, argued that there was suppression of evidence by the prosecution which did not call Nirmala’s cousin, Fermina Anunut, to testify and neither did it (the prosecution) offer her as witness to the defence.
“The prosecution deliberately sent this crucial witness (Fermina) back to Indonesia. This witness says she was threatened not to give evidence for the defence in the case,” he said.
In her witness statement recorded by the investigating officer, Fermina stated that Nirmala had a history of inflicting injuries on herself during her epileptic fits.
Fermina had said in her statement that she and Nirmala went to the same school before both of them came to work in Malaysia through an employment agency.
Akhbardin said a defence medical expert witness and a prosecution witness who examined Nirmala also confirmed that she suffers from mild mental retardation (MMR) and it was typical of a person who suffers from MMR to inflict injuries on themselves.
He said there were so many doubts in the case, adding that the prosecution had failed to prove prima facie case against Yim on all four charges.
Yim, 44 was charged on four counts of causing grievous hurt to Nirmala at her apartment in Villa Putera, Jalan Tun Ismail, Kuala Lumpur in January, March and April 2004.
After the trial, she was found guilty and sentenced to 18 years’ jail by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on three counts of causing grievous hurt to Nirmala with a hot iron and hot water but was acquitted on the fourth charge of causing hurt to the maid with a metal cup.
On her appeal to the Kuala Lumpur High Court, her jail term was reduced to 12 years.
The High Court affirmed Yim’s conviction for the first and third charge but acquitted her on the second charge.
The High Court also overturned an acquittal by the Sessions Court on her fourth charge of breaking the maid’s nose with a steel cup.
Yim is appealing against the High Court’s decision.
The prosecution is also cross-appealing.
The hearing before a three-member bench comprising Appeals Court judges Datuk Clement Allan Skinner, Datuk Linton Albert and High Court judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim continues on October 1. — Bernama