Published: Monday October 8, 2012 MYT 7:41:00 PM
Court to record plea by Somalians on Oct 18
KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will record the plea of the seven Somalians to an alternative charge of shooting at the Malaysian commandos in the Gulf of Aden last year on Oct 18.
Initially, they are charged under Section 3 of the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, which provides the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
However, the alternative charge is made under Section 32(1)(a) of the Firearms Act, which provides only imprisonment of up to 14 years upon conviction.
The alternative charge was offered to the Somalians following a representation by the defence in May to strike out the (initial) charge), but this was rejected by the Attorney-General.
Lawyer Imran Hadzlie Abd Hamid told the media that the prosecution, in a letter dated Sept 20, offered an alternative charge under Section 32(1)(a) of the Firearms Act.
"The alternative charge is offered to all the accused on condition that they plead guilty to the charge," he added.
When the case came up for mention on Monday, judge Kamardin Hashim set Oct 18 to record the guilty plea by the seven Somalians after the prosecution, represented by deputy public prosecutor Yusaimi Amir Abd Karim requested a new date for the case.
Yusaimi Amir said on that day, the prosecution would submit an alternative charge against all the accused and the court would record their plea.
All the accused are being held at the Kajang Prison.
On Jan 20 last year, the Royal Malaysian Navy commandos were delivering aid to MT Bunga Laurel when the vessel was attacked by the Somalian pirates who were armed with AK-47 rifles and pistols in a rescue operation, code-named 'Fajar', jointly carried out with the Royal Malaysian Air Force. - Bernama