SEBERANG PERAI – A 75-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of rape and seven counts of sexual assault after he was charged with committing these crimes against two sisters between 2014 and 2021 at two separate Sessions Court yesterday.
Ashaari Ibrahim, who teaches the al-Quran at his home, was first taken before Sessions Court judge Noor Aini Yusof where he was charged with three counts each of rape and sexual assault against the younger girl at a house located in a village in Jalan Baru in Prai in 2018 when she was only seven years old.
Ashaari, who was unrepresented, told the court that he was unsure whether there was anyone to post bail for him after bail wasn’t offered by Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhamad Syeqal Che Murat.
Bail was subsequently denied by Noor Aini and mention of the case pending submissions of documents has been set for July 29.
Charged again at second Sessions Court
Ashaari was later brought before another Sessions Court judge judge Norhayati Mohamad Yunus and charged with seven counts of rape and four counts of physical sexual assault against the older girl.
He was accused of committing the act over a period of eight years when the victim was five years old.
The charges comes under Section 376 (1) (e) of the Penal Code for rape which carries a maximum jail sentence of 20 years and whipping if convicted, and Section 14 (d) of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 which carries a jail sentence of up to 20 years and whipping upon conviction.
Bail was also not offered by Deputy Public Prosecutor Aisyah Al-Humayrah Kamarul Zaman for the charges.
She also told the court that there are more victims out there who are at risk should Ashaari be granted bail.
There are at least 10 more children who are victims of the accused so if he is granted bail, he may approach the victims and they might refuse to come forward with their statements.
“All of them are unrelated to him but lived in the same village,” she said.
Ashaari then pleaded with the court to grant him bail, claiming that his wife was sick and needed to be taken care of.
However, Norhayati denied bail on grounds that he could get near his alleged victims and set July 29 for mention of the case pending medical report.
Cover image via Malay Mail & The Sun Daily