- Published on Friday, 04 July 2014 20:32
KUALA LUMPUR: Senior lawyers here believe that the Malaysian government has no option, but to let the diplomat involved in the offences of attempted burglary and sexual assault in New Zealand be sent back to the country and be tried there.
This is because under the Extra-territorial Offences Act 1976, the offences committed by the officer does not warrant him to be tried in a Malaysian court.
Most senior lawyers said it was very difficult for the envoy, Muhammad Rizalman, a Warrant Officer II from Mindef and attached to the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand, to take the stand on the charges here.
This was because the offences did not fall within the Act and were committed in another country, they said.
Former Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abiden said based on the offences, he did not think that the envoy could be tried here.
“According to the Act, if a person committed the crime outside the country under the Sedition Act and Official Secrets Act, he can be charged or tried here.
“I do not think the offences committed by the diplomat can be heard here,” he told Bernama here.
Wisma Putra announced today that the officer would be sent to Wellington after the New Zealand government pressed for the accused to stand trial there.
Mohamed Yusof explained that any offence, under any other written law, the commission of which was certified by the attorney-general here, and which would affect the security of the country, could also be tried here.
“I think in France, the country has a law that asserts general jurisdiction over crimes by or against the country’s citizens, no matter where they may have occurred. However, in Malaysia, it is limited.”
Mohamed Yusof, who is currently a lawyer, said since the crime was committed in New Zealand, the latter had jurisdiction to hear the case.
Criminal lawyer Edmund Bon said the Malaysian Court did not have the jurisdiction to hear cases in which the crime was committed overseas.
“It is very difficult for him to answer the charges here because the crime was committed in New Zealand.”
Asked on the officer’s diplomatic immunity, he said in Common Law, it would only apply in the course of duty as a diplomat.
“The diplomatic immunity does not extend to sexual offences, if you committed crimes, it will not apply.”
On July 1, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had said that the ministry supported Wisma Putra’s decision to withdraw diplomatic immunity of the officer which would enable him to be prosecuted according to the laws of New Zealand.
The officer was arrested by Kiwi police on May 9 on allegations of attempted burglary and sexual assault on a 21-year-old woman.
He was charged in a New Zealand court a day later for burglary and assault with intent to commit rape, but a suppression order was imposed to protect his identity.
The accused was arrested after he allegedly followed the woman to her house on May 9 and attacked her.