Man in landmark stalking case ordered to be placed in psychiatric hospital

17 Jan 2024 10:41pm
Safiq Rosli was the first person to be charged under Section 507A(1) of the Penal Code for stalking. - Photo by Bernama
Safiq Rosli was the first person to be charged under Section 507A(1) of the Penal Code for stalking. - Photo by Bernama

SHAH ALAM - The Magistrate's Court here today acquitted and discharged a former part-time event management consultant, who was the first individual to be charged under the new anti-stalking law, directing the man to be placed in Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta in Perak.

Magistrate Sasha Diana Sabtu said the decision was made after examining the overall testimony of prosecution and defence witnesses, concluding that Mohamad Safiq Rosli, 38, had committed the act as stated in the charge.

"The court found that due to unsound mind, the accused did not realise that his actions were contrary to the provisions under Section 84 of the Penal Code.

"As such, under the provisions of Section 347 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the accused is released and acquitted of the charge. Further, referring to Section 348 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the accused is ordered to be placed under secure custody at Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta, Perak," she said in her judgment.

Magistrate Sasha Diana said the case would also be reported to the Sultan of Selangor for further orders under the same section.

During the victim impact statement, lawyer Jason Wee who was holding a watching brief for Acacia Mardiana Daud informed the court that his client had been harassed by the man since the age of 23, and the accused went to the extent of creating over 30 social media accounts to torment the victim.

Wee highlighted that over the course of eight years, his client experienced the loss of friendships due to her reluctance to socialise.

In addition, her income through social media was affected as she feared uploading content about any product.

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"He has used up money to travel across the world, spending months in the United Kingdom (UK), just to locate me, he has been smart enough to evade the authorities in the UK.

"For eight years, I have cried for help and felt hopeless. I have felt like I will get killed, because I know he is so obsessed with me and won't stop searching for me, regardless of what anyone says or even if I get married," he said while reading the impact statement on behalf of his client.

Earlier, a defence witness, psychiatric consultant at Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta, Dr Ian Lloyd Anthony, told the court that following an examination of Mohamad Safiq, the accused was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

He said during the alleged offences, Mohamad Safiq was of unsound mind and unaware that his actions were offensive or against the law.

His mental disorder, predominantly delusional, involved the 'delusion of love' or erotomania.

"For almost eight years, the delusion evolved, making his life entirely revolve around the victim. He obsessively gathered details about her personal life, work, likes and dislikes.

"He believed that they were in a romantic relationship but in reality, it was only a one-sided communication relationship,” he said.

On Dec 20 the Magistrate's Court here rejected the guilty plea of Mohamad Safiq, who was accused of repeatedly harassing Acacia Mardiana through X, formerly Twitter, under the account name "@sopert99 which expressed his feelings for the woman on her Twitter account "@ShaFoShizzle" which was read at a house here.

The accused was charged with committing the offences between 1.40 am on July 15 and 5.58 pm on July 21 last year, causing fear to the victim and can be punished under Section 507A(3) which carries a maximum penalty of three years' imprisonment or a fine or both, if convicted.

Magistrate Sasha Diana explained that the court dismissed the plea due to concerns about the accused's mental state raised by the prosecution. The trial for this case was then scheduled for today, following the decision made on Dec 20.

In today’s proceedings, the prosecution was conducted by deputy public prosecutors Zilfinas Abbas and Analia Kamaruddin, while the accused was represented by lawyer Fithril Hakim Ab Jalil.

Two prosecution witnesses, including the victim, and one defence witness were called to testify in the trial that began at 10.30am. - BERNAMA