National athlete Noor Afizal skips jail after teen rape
Public outrage has flooded the Internet after national athlete Noor Afizal Azizan was let off with a slap on the wrist—even after admitting to raping a teenage girl—because judges from the Court Of Appeal agreed with his defence lawyer that public interest wouldn't be served if he was sent to jail as he had a bright future as a sportsman.
Reactions on Facebook and Twitter to the news have been of shock and anger that the tenpin bowler had escaped his five-year jail sentence—handed down by the Malacca High Court last September after he was charged with the statutory rape of a minor—because he's a national athlete.
According to a report by Bernama, the Court Of Appeal allowed Noor Afizal's petition to restore an earlier decision by the Malacca Sessions Court that only bound him over for good behaviour for five years to the sum of RM25,000.
On Wednesday, a panel led by Court Of Appeal president Tan Sri Raus Md Sharif unanimously overturned a five-year jail term imposed on Noor Afizal by the Malacca High Court, which had allowed the prosecuting attorney to appeal for a tougher sentence against the sessions court's verdict.
In his judgement, Raus agreed with Noor Afizal's lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik that public interest wouldn't be served if he were sent to jail because he had a bright future as a national athlete. Court Of Appeal judges Datuk KN Segara and Datuk Azhar Ma'ah also presided on the panel.
On 5th July last year, the Malacca Sessions Court bound over Noor Afizal for good behaviour to the sum of RM25,000, even after he confessed he was guilty of committing the crime with the under-aged girl at a hotel in Ayer Keroh between 12:30am and 5:00am a month before.
Among the factors considered by the sessions court in its decision was, apparently, the consensual sexual relationship between the 21-year-old bowler and the 13-year-old girl. But the public prosecutor appealed to the high court and won a five-year jail sentence on Noor Afizal on 2nd September.
Noor Afizal represented Negri Sembilan from 2004 to 2010 and played for Malaysia in the National Youth Category from 2004 to 2008. He's expected to bowl for Kedah in several upcoming tournaments, including the KL International Open Championship 2012.
Published: 9th August 2012