Eatery owner charged with Beaufort murder allowed bail
Published on: Saturday, October 23, 2021
By: Jo Ann Mool
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Hobalan being assisted while leaving the courtroom.
Kota Kinabalu: A 38-year-old restaurant owner charged with murdering a man in Beaufort last year, was on Friday allowed bail by the High Court pending his trial.

Judicial Commissioner Amelati Parnell granted Hobalan N. Vello bail of RM200,000 with RM50,000 deposited in two sureties, one of which is the wife, following an application for bail by his counsel.

The court also imposed several conditions that Hobalan’s international passport be impounded, no interstate travelling without leave from the Court, to report to the Beaufort police station once in two weeks and not approach or interfere with any of the witnesses.

Amelati fixed Dec 13 for pre-trial case management.

Earlier, Hobalan pleaded not guilty to committing the crime against Albert @ Recquel A Agang, 53, between 11.30pm on Dec 18, 2020 and 12.05am on Dec 19, 2020 outside the My Heaven Seafood Restaurant in Beaufort.

The charge under Section 302 of the Penal Code carries the death penalty, on conviction.

Counsel Ram Singh, representing Hobalan, applied for bail on the grounds that Hobalan has severe back injury and needs urgent surgical intervention as agreed by two doctors.

The accused was already on wheelchair and fell from a staircase at the police station and that during his detention at the prison, he was located at the room next to the prison clinic because of his uncontrolled bowel movement due to the back pain, said Ram.

Ram applied for the court to be lenient to release Hobalan on reasonable court bail in order for him to proceed with the surgery at a government hospital or private clinic here.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Azreen Yas Mohamad Ramli submitted that there was no merit to the bail application and applied for it to be dismissed.

The court must consider in exercising its discretion to grant bail, especially for a capital offence which carries the death penalty, said Azreen and cited a decided case.

The main grounds of the application is due to the applicant’s current medical condition, the government hospital may further delay carrying out surgery on the applicant due to the pandemic situation and also due to the reason that there is a need for the wife to take care of him post-surgery, she submitted.

The grounds stated is more out of convenience rather than of exceptional and very special circumstances, said  Azreen, who further submitted that any grounds that is based on convenient circumstances should not be considered by the court in exercising its discretionary power to allow the application.

Ram replied that the doctors did not deny that Hobalan needs medical attention and that it is best that he is given bail in order for him to move around from his house to the hospital with the assistance of his wife and family members rather than his condition getting worst.

Ram submitted that it was not a situation of convenience as claimed by the prosecution but more of necessity and also his constitutional right to get medical treatment at the government hospital or private hospital of his choice.

Ram added that the bail is to secure his attendance in court and can be easily revoked by the court should there be any failure to comply with any condition set by the court.

Together with Ram were counsels Kimberly Ye and Chen Wen Jye.


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