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Man’s acquittal for driving under influence of alcohol maintained
Published on: Saturday, September 09, 2023
By: Bernama
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Man’s acquittal for driving under influence of alcohol maintained
PUTRAJAYA: A sales manager who was charged for driving under the influence of alcohol and causing the death of a policeman and injuring another remains a free man as the Court of Appeal here Friday set aside the prosecution’s application for extension of time to file its notice of appeal.

The prosecution had wanted the court to give an extension of time to enable them to file its notice of appeal against the High Court’s decision in acquitting and discharging N. Mohan Rao on the charge.

The Court of Appeal’s three-member bench, in a 2-1 majority decision, however, dismissed the prosecution’s application.

Justices Datuk M. Gunalan and Datuk S.M. Komathy Suppiah decided the majority decision while Justice Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim dissented.

Justice Gunalan, who delivered the majority decision, said the prosecution failed to disclose cogent reasons for the court to exercise its discretionary powers to allow an extension of time.

He said the reasons given by the prosecution that it was an oversight on their part and communication breakdown was manifestly insufficient to justify the request for extension of time. He also said the prosecution’s application did not have merit.

Justice Ahmad Zaidi, in his dissenting decision, granted the extension of time to the prosecution saying that sufficient reason was given for the delay in filing the notice of appeal.

He added that the delay in filing the notice of appeal would not prejudice Mohan Rao. He also said the questions of law proposed by the prosecution are serious enough for determination of the Court of Appeal.

On March 25, last year, the Magistrate’s Court found Mohan Rao, 49, guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol, with blood alcohol level exceeding the permitted limit, resulting in the death of Constable Mohd Zamiri Sinsian, 25, and injuries to the then 23-year-old Constable Osman Ibrahim at Jalan Semantan heading towards the city at 3.30am on Dec 5, 2018.

Magistrate Puteri Nursheila Rahimi sentenced Mohan Rao to four years’ jail and imposed a fine of RM15,000 in default 10 months’ jail. She also ordered Mohan Rao’s driving licence to be suspended for five years.

The High Court, on May 31, this year, however, overturned the Magistrate’s Court’s decision and acquitted and discharged Mohan Rao.

In Friday’s proceeding, deputy public prosecutor Norzilati Izhani Zainal said the notice of appeal should have been filed by June 14. However, she said she only received instruction to do so on June 19. 

She said on the same day (June 19), she filed leave to seek for extension of time to file the notice of appeal. She said there was an oversight by the prosecution to file the notice of appeal on time.

Mohan Rao’s counsel Datuk Seri Rajan Navaratnam said Rule 58 of the Rules of the Court of Appeal 1994 makes it mandatory for the prosecution to file the notice of appeal within 14 days from the date of the High Court’s decision. 

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