KUALA LUMPUR – Two men and a woman today changed their plea to not guilty at the High Court here on the charge of spreading the teachings of a deviant religious sect known as Millah Ibrahim@Abraham last year.
Mohamad Harizal Kamarudin, 37, and his wife, Nur Ridah Osman, 27, along with Kamarudin Annuar, 48, changed the plea when the case was mentioned before Syarie Judge Ibrahim Deris.
On Dec 10 last year, the court accepted the trio’s guilty plea and set today’s date for the sentencing.
When asked by the judge why they wanted to change the plea, their lawyer, Zaini Zainol said: “All my clients were not properly advised by their previous lawyer, causing them to be confused with the consequences of their plea.”
“As such, we would like to file an application to withdraw the guilty plea made by the accused even though the court has convicted them of the offence,” he added.
The court then set Jan 29 as the new date for sentencing.
According to charge sheets, Kamarudin, who is a workshop operator, was charged with spreading the deviant teachings at a business premises, B-2-3, Level 2, Block B, Jalan 2/142A, Megan Phoenix, Jalan Cheras here between 9 pm and 9.25 pm on Oct 20, 2013.
The offence under Section 5 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997 carries a fine of up to RM3,000 or jail term of up to two years, or both.
Harizal and Nur Ridah, on the other hand, were charged with abetting the spreading of the deviant teachings at the same time and place.
The charge under Section 43(b) of the same Act carries the same punishment.
Meanwhile, Zaini who also represented another five accused applied for a preliminary objection to strike out the charge against his clients.
The accused – Johan Haruna, 41, Mahamad Azhari Tajuddin, 44, Liliwati Eden, 37, Kamalia Mohamed Taib, 43, and Anuar Zainal, 48, – claimed that the charge was defective as the allegedly deviant teachings were not specifically stated.
The court set Feb 12 to decide on the preliminary objection. – BERNAMA