KUALA LUMPUR: After serving almost two years in prison, a former receptionist of a five-star hotel who was accused of raping an Australian tourist four years ago was acquitted and discharged by the High Court here today.
Judge Datuk Rozana Ali Yusoff acquitted Roaquin Radzmund Muhammed Redu-an, 29, the appellant, after allowing his appeal against his conviction and a 13-year-jail term, two-stroke sentence which were meted out by the Sessions Court on Nov 7, 2016.
In her judgement, Rozana said the Sessions Court judge had erred in convicting the appellant who was represented by counsel A.G. Kalidas on the charge against him.
She said the identity of the suspect who committed the act could not be confirmed as the quality of the closed-circuit television (CCTV) recordings which captured the image of the suspect in the hotel was poor and blurry that the victim herself could not identify the suspect through an identification parade or when he was in the dock.
In his defence, the appellant in denying that he took the elevator to the victim's room and committed the offence had claimed that throughout that period he was at the reception in the hotel lobby.
“The conviction is unsafe and an appeal must be allowed. With this, the conviction and sentence are set aside and the court order that the appellant be acquitted of the charge,” the judge said.
On hearing this, cries of relief and shock filled the room as Roaquin Radzmund's family members who were in the public gallery cried and hugged each other.
At the end of the proceeding, they rushed to hug a jubilant Roaquin Radzmund who later came to meet and thank reporters for their presence in court.
Roaquin Radzmund, who was then 25, was charged with committing the offence in a room at a hotel in Jalan Imbi here at 5am on Oct 19, 2014, under Section 376 (1) of the Penal Code which provides a jail term of up to 20 years and whipping.
On Dec 2, 2015, the Sessions Court acquitted him of raping the fast-food restaurant manager.
However, on Sept 22, 2016, the High Court ordered him to enter his defence against the rape charge after allowing the prosecution's appeal against his acquittal. — Bernama