Girl withdrawn after rape acquittal

The teenage girl, whom Bunya Jalong was acquitted of raping, has grown withdrawn following the ruling by the Court of Appeal. The girl, now believed to be 18 or 19 years old, has not spoken publicly about the court decision.

“I can sense that she has built a wall around herself,” Sarawak’s Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah told reporters.


Asked what the family had told her, Fatimah said: “They expressed anger, dissatisfaction. They don’t understand why this man was acquitted when the evidence showed that the child has his DNA.

“Consent is immaterial. She was a minor (at the time), incapable of making informed decisions.”

The girl and her family are in the state capital this week to seek help from the authorities, having met, besides Fatimah, the Sarawak Women and Family Council.

Bunya was accused of raping the girl in May, June, July and August 2011 at a hotel in Sibu. The girl gave birth at the Sibu Hospital on Feb 5, 2012, with a DNA test confirming Bunya to be the baby boy’s biological father.

Last week, the Court of Appeal, which sat in Kuching, unanimously acquitted and discharged Bunya, reasoning that it was unsafe to convict him of the charges.

Fatimah said the girl would be given counseling, adding that the state ministry would write a letter to support her wish for the case to be reviewed.

She urged Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri and Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, both Sarawakians, to speak out in a united voice.

“The Penal Code, in reference to Section 375, needs to be amended to give the courts a more liberal interpretation of the definition of rape when the victim is a child,” Fatimah said, adding a similar protection was already in place in Britain, France and the Philippines.

“We urge the amendment to include boys of tender age,” she said.

In Kuala Lumpur, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said its legal experts had been directed to study and produce a detailed report on the case.

“We need to study and amend existing laws for sexual crimes as well as related laws because there are many loopholes that allow a rape suspect to be acquitted,” he told reporters.



One comment

  1. Lawyer ‘craftier’ than 15-year-old girl

    YOURSAY ‘So long as the girl is underaged, any intercourse is rape.’

    Lawyer explains acquittal in ‘teen rape’ case

    CHKS: Lawyer Augustine Liom, regardless of how many sexual partners the alleged rape victim has had, no matter how much of what she said was truthful or not, as long as the child she delivered has DNA of your client (Bunya Jalong), there’s no excuse.

    True, there are loopholes in the law (no one can deny that), but the more you explained by putting the onus of truth on the victim, the more your mouth stinks.

    There’s no excuse whatsoever for the DNA of a 60-year-old man to be found in the child delivered by a 15-year-old girl.

    You should just shut up, Augustine, even though you’ve won the case. Are you going for a roadshow like a certain senior lawyer?

    SRMan: When Liom concluded that “but our law being such that sexual intercourse means only penile penetration, their (judges) hands are tied and they could only leave it to the legislators to effect any amendments to the law if deemed necessary”, he actually affirmed that only another form of non-sexual activity did take place, in this case which we now know, is the “finger-raping” act by the accused.

    That being the case, can the prosecution review it and consider charging the accused for “serious sexual assault or abuse” of an under-aged girl?

    My layman’s view on the final reason – “that the alleged victim’s family tried to extort money from his client and lodged a police report only after he (accused) refused” – is that, what the victim family did was wrong in law.

    It however did not prove that the victim or her family was lying about the rape. And does it mean that, “when (police) checked the hotel register, (it) did not show she and the accused had been to the hotel”, then they had actually not been there?

    Wira: Liom, we are talking about the statutory rape. A minor is given the benefit of the doubt that she may not have the maturity to give consent to sexual intercourse.

    So don’t accuse a 15-year-old of being devious. A 60-year-old should not take advantage of a minor.

    That his DNA is passed on to the child of the minor is sufficient prove that some sexual union had taken place, digital penetration of the vagina by a semen lubricated finger notwithstanding.

    That dirty old man should go to jail for his deviant lust.

    Joker: Is this the trend now for victorious lawyers to go and bash up the losing side after a trial is over? Guile? Craftiness? I mean, seriously?

    We are talking about statutory rape here. Even if the girl testified the sex was consensual as long as the girl is under-aged, any intercourse is rape.

    The only guile and craftiness here is on the part of the defence lawyer who played around with the technical meaning of ‘rape’ under law.

    6th Generation Immigrant: Indeed, whatever it is, it is statutory rape. This is why it applies to children under 16 years. They know not what they do or say.

    The man is guilty, the young girl can charged with many other things, but statutory rape against the man must stand.

    Hmmmmmmmm: It has been reported that the DNA of the child matches the accused. So how can the accused be innocent of statutory rape?

    By the way, can a person actually be impregnated with a finger smeared with sperms? I thought I read somewhere that sperms die as soon as they are exposed?

    In this case, the details of the events are actually not important. As long as the DNA of the baby matches the accused and the mother is a minor, there is a charge somewhere if not statutory rape.

    Unless of course, the accused can prove that she took his sperms from a sperm bank and impregnated herself.

    Angelababy: If a mere smeared finger could cause pregnancy, then we don’t need medical specialists in fertility.

    Kang Kong King: Why is corroboration necessary? I thought in one of the judgments in Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal, Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria ruled that corroboration is not needed.

    T: Craftiness and guile is not the point here. The point is that a minor is not expected to be fully aware of his or her actions. The adult is, and should be, held responsible.

    It was undeniable that sexual relations did happen between the two. I agree that our judges’ hand could be tied due to the laws – which begs the question of the competency of our prosecutors.

    Finally, it is about time that our archaic laws governing sex is amended.

    Jstom: It doesn’t matter where it happened, how it happened, or even when it happened – but it happened. Is that so difficult for our judges to understand?

    Anonymous_1371547149: Liom, so getting an acquittal for a rapist is your badge of honour? Surely the guile and craftiness of the 15-year-old cannot match yours.

    Both you and the judges who freed the man have brought shame to the legal profession and the judiciary.

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    These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.


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