16 June 2009

Summary of Cases tried in Baucau District Court 2 – 5 June 2009

16 June 2009 JSMP DILI Baucau District Court Cases 2 - 5 June 2009

Baucau, 02/06/2009

On Tuesday 2/6 the Baucau District Court tried a case of light maltreatment committed by two defendants (M) and (R) against the victim B. According to the charges read out by the judge the maltreatment was committed by the two defendants on the morning of 9/11/2008 in front of the Baucau Sub-district Office. During the incident the defendant M hit the victim on the back and arm with a piece of wood and then the two defendants both kicked the victim who fell to the ground. The victim testified to the court that the defendants had stopped him at the scene of the crime when he was returning from the Baucau church. Suddenly the two defendants asked about someone that the victim did not know.

However the two defendants testified that they hit the victim because he looked like he was challenging them. This is what the two defendants told the judge. The victim suffered bruising and swelling on his shoulder and arm as a result of the defendants’ actions. As a result of his injuries the victim could not attend school for one week.

After hearing testimony from the defendant, the victim and witness, the court decided that the testimony was sufficient and then the judge provided the prosecution and the defence with an opportunity to make their final statements. The prosecution recommended for the court to find the defendants guilty of the charges pursuant to Article 351 (1) and Article 55 (1) of the Indonesian Penal Code.

The prosecution made this recommendation of sentence to deter members of the community, especially young people, to avoid acting in an arbitrary manner causing injury to others. Therefore the prosecution maintained the charges as set out in the indictment.

The defence said that the defendants had basically admitted their guilt in an honest manner before the court. The defence presented mitigating circumstances such as the fact that the defendants were still in school and were still young. The defence asked the court to carefully consider these matters and acquit the defendants so they could continue their education.

NB: The decision will be announced on 10/6.

Baucau, 3/6/2009

The defendant JD and 15 others were involving in the theft of a goat in Baucau last year. The Baucau District Court continued the trial of this case to hear testimony from the defendants. The hearing was delayed because according to the schedule issued by a court official it should have commenced at 2pm however it started at 4pm. JSMP observed that the defendants and victim were all present at the court before the hearing was scheduled to commence.

After the judge declared the hearing open to the public, the judge explained to both parties that this was the final hearing. The judge also reminded the parties that the court would issue a summons to the parties after the new penal code was validated on 8 June, which would replace the Indonesian Penal Code.

To conclude the matter the defendants handed over $40 in compensation to the victim (owner of the goat) in the presence of the judge. After the defendants paid the aforementioned amount to the victim the judge once again reminded the victim that the case was declared closed. Therefore the case would not be reopened in the future because both parties had reached an agreement and the victim had consented and this reinforced the court’s decision.

At the very close of the hearing Judge Edite P gave a stern reminder to the defendants that the offence in this case carries a maximum sentence of 7 years imprisonment, however the case had exceeded the statute of limitations and the parties had reached an amicable settlement whereby the defendants were willing to compensate the victim. For these reasons the court decided to acquit the defendants.

On the same day the local court also adjourned a minor criminal case (No. 53/ Crm.S/09/TDB). This case was adjourned because the victim and witness were not present in court without providing any prior notification. The judge stated that the trial would be adjourned and continued on 30 June because the victim and witness were absent and therefore the court summoned them to attend the trial on the next scheduled date.

Baucau 04-06-2009

The defendant BD was charged by the Public Prosecutor for the criminal act of damage to public property. On Thursday 4/6 the Baucau District Court continued the trial to examine witness testimony.

During this final hearing two witnesses provided similar testimony. The witness J testified that he did not see the defendant damage an electrical cable as mentioned in the charge, but heard about it several days later. This information was provided by the local committee (sub-district of Iliomar) when he went to repair a cable that had been damaged by the defendant.

The second witness A testified to the court that he also did not witness first hand the incident or know anything about the case, because at that time he was at home. This witness is an official from the State Electricity Service in the Sub-District of Iliomar, District of Lautem.

The judge decided that the witness testimony was sufficient and therefore asked the prosecution and defence to make their final statements orally to summarize the entire process. The prosecution recommended for the court to find the defendant guilty as charged. The defendant asked the court to consider a suspended sentence. Finally at 5pm judge Edite Palmira read out the decision in consideration of the fact that the defendant lives in a remote area and to avoid making the defendant come back to court again. The judge decided that the defendant B had in fact damaged the electricity cable in Fuat Village, Iliomar Sub-District, Lautem District in 2003 that left 7 houses in that village without electricity for two nights.

The decision also mentioned that the defendant had damaged the electricity cable belonging to the State Electricity Service because he had been asked by an official of the Electricity Service to pay $10, because he had not paid his bill for several months. The decision also stated that the defendant committed the aforementioned act on his own free will. The decision was issued after the court considered the testimony of the witnesses and other evidence gathered throughout the trial. Based on these facts the court sentenced the defendant to 6 months imprisonment to be suspended for one year pursuant to Article 14 of the Indonesian Penal Code.

After announcing the decision the judge explained to the defendant that the court had issued a very lenient sentence in this case because it has passed its statute of limitations (2003). In addition to the suspended sentence the court also ordered the defendant to pay court costs of $ 5.

On the same day the local court continued the trial of a case of attempted murder involving the defendant DI. According to the indictment, this criminal act occurred on 1/1/2009 in Viqueque. According to the indictment the defendant committed the criminal act against the victim C who was with his friend N as they were returning from church (mass) and suddenly the defendant called out to the victim to come over. After deliberating a few moment the victim headed towards the defendant and when he got closer the defendant poured petrol on the shoulder of the victim and tried to ignite a gas lighter to burn him, however his efforts failed because the gas lighter did not ignite and the victim stopped the defendant and took the gas lighter off him and thus the victim was saved. The indictment stated that the motive of the crime came about because on 22/12/2008 the defendant was complaining and said some inappropriate things about the church, namely “they want everything for free, because they collect money from the churchgoers every week”. The defendant made this statement when the victim was copying Christmas carols in the office where the defendant was working (the Viqueque health centre). The defendant admitted his guilt based on the existing facts, however he said that at that time he was intoxicated.

The victim testified about the chronology of events exactly as they were depicted in the indictment. This was also the case with the testimony provided by witness N to the court. The witness said that he saw the incident first hand because at that time he was returning from church with the victim. The witness also said that he restrained the defendant when he was trying to burn the victim until a member of PNTL arrived.

The prosecutor stated that the testimony of the victim and witness corresponded exactly with the charges in the indictment. Therefore the prosecutor had no doubt about the facts and requested for the court to find the defendant guilty as charged, namely for committing the crime of attempted murder.

The defence stated that the article used by the prosecutor against the defendant did not correspond with the facts, because there was no mention of a plan to commit the murder as contained in Article 340 of the Indonesian Penal Code, or any premeditation to commit the crime. The public defender appointed to represent the defendant also told the court that the defendant had admitted his actions and therefore he asked the court to decide the case in the best interests of justice.

NB: Decision will be issued on 18/6 at 14.00.

For more information please contact: Luis de Oliveira Sampaio Executive Director of JSMP Email: luis@jsmp.minihub.org Landline: 3323883
Artwork by Arte Moris artist.

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