IPOH: After several postponements, the trial of Paul Yong Choo Kiong finally began at the High Court here today, with the prosecution saying it will prove that the Tronoh state assemblyman did rape his Indonesian maid and that there was no conspiracy.
Perak state prosecution director Datuk Jamil Aripin said the prosecution would present evidence to show that the charge was based on a complaint and investigations conducted in accordance with the law and that there was no plot to victimise the accused or smear his reputation.
“The conclusion from the evidence presented in court will prove that an incident of rape did occur and that it was committed by the accused, and all the testimonies will show beyond reasonable that the accused committed the offence as charged,” he said when reading out the prosecution’s opening statement.
The trial, which began at about 9.30 am, was held before Judge Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed, who replaced Datuk Hashim Hamzah.
Jamil was prosecuting with the assistance of deputy public prosecutors Liyana Zawani Mohd Radzi and Ainul Wardah Shahidan while the defence team comprised lawyers Datuk Rajpal Singh and Salim Bashir.
Rajpal raised the issue on procedure for evidence and the use of the Witness Protection Act 2009 for the 24-year-old victim and witness in this case, apart from Section 265 (A) of the Criminal Procedure Code by the prosecution to give evidence via a video link.
Earlier, when Yong, 51, arrived at the court at about 8.45 am, he was greeted with cheers by some 30 supporters comprising people of various races and age groups who had come in a bus.
The first to take the witness stand was Kpl P. Paul Vethamuthu and he was followed by constable Nik Zamri Ismail, a cameraman from the Ipoh district police headquarters who took photographs of the location of the incident, case exhibits and related investigation matters.
In the afternoon, another witness was called, that is Riki Sapari, 39, who received a telephone call from the victim at the Complaints Division, Manpower Department of the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur at about 11 am on July 8, 2019.
Riki said the victim then sounded like crying and seemed panicky and in fear, saying she had been raped by her employer and repeatedly asked to be rescued. He then asked her to call him back on his handphone.
Riki said he understood that the victim called using her employer’s house telephone but this was disputed by Salim, who said the number from which she called back Riki was not Yong’s house telephone.
Salim also questioned Riki for recording the complaint as sexual harassment and not rape but Riki explained that the victim did say she was raped and not just touched on certain parts of the body.
“At that moment I did not write rape but sexual harassment because I was not in a position to determine whether it was just sexual misconduct or rape.
“That is why we (embassy) referred the report to the police for further investigation,” he added.
After the first day’s hearing which lasted about six hours, the court set trial to continue at 10 am tomorrow.
On Dec 21 last year, the High Court here set the trial for nine days beginning March 30 this year after Yong, 51, pleaded not guilty to a charge of raping his maid at his house in Meru Desa Park on July 7, 2019 between 8.15 pm and 9.15 pm, but it was postponed to today.
The case had been mentioned in the Sessions Court but on Dec 15 last year the Federal Court allowed an application by the defence to transfer the case to the High Court.
Yong was first charged in the Sessions Court here on Aug 23, 2019 when he was the state Housing, Local Government, Public Transport, Non-Islamic Affairs and New Villages Committee chairman. — Bernama