KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today set 12 days for the trial of two teenagers facing 23 murder charges involving students and teachers of a religious school here.
Justice Datuk Azman Abdullah fixed May 30-31; July 2-6; and July 9-13 as the hearing dates, after dismissing a preliminary objection by the prosecution.
The prosecution filed the preliminary objection on Jan 30 in a bid to restrain Messrs Gobind Singh Deo & Co from representing the two accused, contending that the law firm was also representing two other accused related to the case at the Magistrate’s Court
It said the two teenagers were key prosecution witnesses in the case, which would allow the defence to be privy to evidence that would be used during the trial.
However, the judge held that every individual had the right under the Federal Constitution to choose their own counsels.
“The defence has also explained that it would not connect or link the case with the two prosecution witnesses,” the judge noted.
In this regard, Gobind Singh Deo will represent the two teenagers while the prosecution will be represented by Kuala Lumpur prosecution director Othman Abdullah and deputy public prosecutor Nurakmal Farhan Aziz.
The duo are jointly charged with committing the murders at Pusat Tahfiz Darul Ittifaqiyah in Jalan Keramat Hujung, Kampung Datuk Keramat here, between 4.15 am and 6.45 am on Sept 14, 2017.
The charges framed under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code carries the mandatory death sentence on conviction.
However, under Section 97(1) of the Child Act 2001, offenders under 18 years old cannot be sentenced to death.
But the court can impose a jail sentence for any length of time subject to the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and Section 94 of the same Act gives the court the power to order the parents to pay a fine or compensation.
At the proceeding today, counsel Ahmad Nazrin Abu Bakar held a watching brief for the school and the victims’ families. -- BERNAMA