Four girls charged with sexually assaulting fellow inmate

ARNAZ M. KHAIRUL

MALACCA: Four juvenile delinquents from the Tunas Bakti School, a girls' correctional facility in Tanjung Kling near here, were today charged with sexually assaulting a fellow female inmate here by use of an object.

The quartet – one aged 19, two 18 and another, 17 – stood before the Sessions Court judge Ahmad Sazali Omar in black headscarves and maroon uniforms. They claimed trial to the charges under Section 377CA of the Penal Code which carries a maximum 30-year jail term and whipping.

The four were charged with committing sex against the order of nature by inserting a bottle of deodorant into the private parts of a 17-year-old inmate at the Melor Room in the school in Sungai Lereh at 5pm on April 9.

When the charge was read, the quartet gestured with a synchronised shaking of heads and simply uttered their not guilty plea.

They were seen crying as their heads dropped, watched by family members seated on observation benches behind them.

Deputy public prosecutor Siti Ruvinna Mohd Rawi urged the judge to consider that the quartet had been placed at the correctional school under court orders due to previous crimes committed as juveniles and that they would remain there even when bail is granted.

She requested bail to be set at RM30,000 each with one surety, while also calling for the safety of the victim and witnesses to be considered while awaiting trial.

"I thus request that the accused be separated and not to be allowed to be in contact with the victim and witnesses since the bail period would be served in the facility as well," said Siti Ruvinna.

Defence counsel Andrew Lourdes then raised the matter of all four of the accused being from lower income families with many siblings, and that their families would not be able to afford bail of more than RM5,000.

He also pointed out the fact that despite bail granted, the accused would still only be limited to the confines of the correctional school, thus negating the possibility of them escaping custody.

Ahmad Sazali then set bail at RM15,000 each with one surety and hearing was set for May 17.