"No doubt, (Afizal) committed an offense, but is a custodial sentence the only safeguard to ensure similar offenses of consensual sex among teenagers will not happen?"Keeping young offenders out of prison. Court of Appeal president Raus Sharif got huge flak for keeping a national bowler out of jail for a statutory rape committed three years ago. Yesterday, in his written judgment, Raus said what the Court of Appeal had done was to keep a young offender out of jail as there were other means of dealing with "a mistake" committed by two teenagers: Nor Afizal Azizan, the bowler, was 19 at the time and his girlfriend was 13 years and 4 months.
"Both made a mistake in engaging in premarital sex. No doubt, the appellant (Afizal) committed a offense, but is custodial sentence the only safeguard to ensure similar offenses of consensual sex among teenagers will not happen?" Raus asked.
The teens had consensual sex: they checked into a hotel in Air Keroh, Melaka on June 5, 2009 to spend a night together. The girl's father lodged a police report against Nor Afizal after he "happened to read" the girl's diary about her "sexual encounter".
Raus said parents should impose religious knowledge on their kids and schools should teach sex education, especially the dire consequences of premarital sex.
Netizens enraged by the Court of Appeal's decision to set aside a High Court's decision to sentence Afizal to 5 years' jail had started a #brightfuturerapeOK hashtag to protest the decision. I realize that a great deal of the "rage" was ignited by the original news report, which gave the impression that the national bowler was getting off scot-free because the Court was of the view that he had a bright future! Take note that V. Anbalagan's report on Raus' judgment h e r e made no mention of anyone's "bright future".