Siti Bainun sentenced to 12 years in prison in the Bella abuse case

AFTER being found guilty on two counts of neglecting and abusing a teenager with Down syndrome, Bella, Rumah Bonda founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali was sentenced to a 12-year prison term.

The Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur this morning meted out the sentence against Siti Bainun in the case involving the abuse of the 13-year-old girl.

Trial judge Izralizam Sanusi ordered the sentence to run today. He imposed 10 years’ jail for the first charge and 12 years’ jail for the second charge, according to Malaysiakini. 

The judge also ordered Siti Bainun to sign a five-year good behaviour bond and complete 200 hours of community service after serving her jail sentence.

To give parties time to decide whether to request a stay of execution of the sentence while an appeal is ongoing in the High Court, the judge agreed to temporarily halt the proceedings.

Izralizam, who earlier read out his decision finding the accused guilty, ruled that the testimony of Siti Bainun and other defense witnesses was merely hearsay, particularly when it was claimed that Bella’s injuries were brought on by an alleged accidental exposure to drenched hot water rather than by abuse.

Moreover, the judge noted that evidence in court showed that the injuries to Bella were older than the purported accidental exposure to hot water in May 2021.

“This shows that the incident with the hot water never happened,” the judge said, adding that the oral evidence given by the 31-year-old accused and seven other defence witnesses could not be believed or accepted by the trial court.

Furthermore, during the sentencing hearing, Siti Bainun’s counsel Farhan Maaruf pleaded for a lenient non-custodial sentence because the accused had repented for the incident.

In the event that Siti Bainun is sentenced to prison, the lawyer requested a short custodial sentence since “current prison facilities cannot cater for a person of her (Siti Bainun’s) physical being.”

Farhan noted that this is due to her large size and attendant health (issues). A long prison sentence would impact the accused’s health.

However, deputy public prosecutor Zahida Zakaria sought a deterrent sentence because Siti Bainun betrayed the trust of Bella and the community to discharge her duty as a carer for children.

The DPP pointed out that Bella’s injuries were grave and covered a large part of her body.

“The scars from the injuries are permanent and will stay with Bella for the rest of her life,” Zahida said.

Izralizam then momentarily halted proceedings in order to determine what penalty to impose on the accused. — May 3, 2023



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