Court of Appeal Upholds Decision To Let A Woman Walk Free Of Allegedly Murdering Her Maid
This is Ambika MA Shan, also known as S Ambika, the woman charged with murdering her Indonesian maid two years ago
In April 2019, she was allowed to walk away scot-free by the High Court in Penang despite allegedly abusing her domestic worker, Adelina Lisao, until the 21-year-old died of multiple organ failure
Adelina was rescued in February 2018 after neighbours found her sleeping outside Ambika's house in Bukit Mertajam, alongside the employer's dog.
The maid had suffered wounds to her face, hands, and legs, and died while being treated at Bukit Mertajam Hospital the next day.
Ambika was charged with murder and could have faced the death penalty if convicted, but was fully acquitted of the charge by the High Court, even though prosecution only asked for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA).
This week, the High Court's decision was again upheld when the Malaysian Court of Appeal dismissed the prosecution's appeal to continue the trial
Free Malaysia Today reported that a panel of three Court of Appeal judges chaired by Yaacob Md Sam ruled that High Court judge Akhtar Tahir, who acquitted Ambika, made no error in judgment.
"We are satisfied that the judge exercised his power rightfully. Thus, the decision by the High Court was correct and fair," Yaacob said.
Ambika, now 62 years old, was not present when the ruling was delivered on Tuesday, 22 September.
After learning the news, women's rights watchdog Tenaganita released a statement saying that it was extremely disappointed by the Court of Appeal's decision
According to Malaysiakini, the group urged the prosecution to file alternative criminal charges against Ambika.
"We have been made aware that the prosecution has 10 days to charge the perpetrator with another charge, and we hope that she can be charged under Section 304A of the Penal Code (death by negligence) because Adelina was so brutally and severely abused by the employer that her body could only succumb to death," said Glorene Das, the executive director of Tenaganita.
Glorene said the court's decision sends a dangerous message to those who abuse and exploit other human beings.
"We must put an end to the climate of impunity afforded to employers or any perpetrators, who abuse, cheat, severely harm, and even carry out acts that lead to the deaths of domestic workers, with little consequence to them," she said, as quoted by BenarNews.
The group has started a petition demanding for Ambika to be newly charged as well as to remember and protect Adelina's dignity.