Single Mother Spends Night In Lock-Up Despite Paying Bail… Lawyer Calls It “Abuse of Authority”

Source: FMT

A 46-year-old single mother from Taiping was handcuffed, taken to the police station and forced to spend the night in lock-up despite settling her RM500 bail on time.

The reason for her arrest is because her dog attacked and injured a neighbour in July.

For further context, on July 10, Soraja Devi pleaded guilty to negligence in guarding her pet dog, resulting in the injury of a 12-year-old girl.

Nurilmi Natrah Mohd Muzri, the victim, was attacked in-front of a house in Kampung Larut Tin Sambungan.

Source: New Straits Times

Bernama reported that Soraja was then charged under Section 289 of the Penal Code on September 10, which can result in imprisonment for up to six months and a maximum fine of RM2,000 upon conviction.

On Monday, Soraja spent the night in lock-up dressed in purple attire as police officers failed to verify her claim that she had made the bail payment, despite the fact that she had the receipt.

Source: FMT

Rangitha Gobi describes the events following her mother’s hearing.

“Soon after the decision, the police handcuffed my mother in the courtroom, stopped her in front of a group of waiting reporters before taking her away to the police station. After 40 minutes, a court official told me to pay the bail online.

“I did at 12.39pm and the court was on lunch break. A police officer in the court told me my mother would be released. When she did not return home by 4pm, I called the police to find out why,” she said.

The police officer told Rangitha that she would have to wait until Monday to get the official “release letter”, as it was a Friday when she paid bail.

Source: Merdeka Center

“I went back to the court the next morning and, thank God, the court was open although it was a Saturday. Adibah was kind enough to see me and was surprised that my mother was not released.

“She instructed the police to bring my mother to the court and released her immediately. Adibah even apologised to my mother on behalf of everybody responsible. We really wish to thank her for this,” said Rangitha.

According to FMT, an unnamed police officer confirmed that a report had been lodged on the matter.

Lawyer SN Nair said the overnight detention was “preposterous” and showed poor discretion by the officers handling such a simple matter.

“The moment police see the legitimate document showing that the bail has been settled, suspects should be freed. What they did to her is unlawful detention. Thanks to the magistrate, she did not have to unnecessarily spend another two nights in the lock-up,” he said.

Nair said it was especially appalling that the police made her wear lock-up clothes, kept her there for such a simple case, and put her at risk of contracting Covid-19.

“This is tantamount to abuse of authority,” said the lawyer.

The Magistrate’s Court has set the date for sentencing for Saroja, who also works as a cook and has seven children, on October 25.