Rumah Bonda founder Siti Bainun Ahd Razali, who is facing charges of neglecting and abusing a girl with Down syndrome known as Bella, was today ordered by the Sessions Court to give her statement of defence even without legal representation.
The order was made by judge Izralizam Sanusi who decided that the defence proceedings must go on so as not to disrupt the course of the case.
"The court has the absolute discretion to allow or reject the application for postponement. In this case, I have to use my discretion. So today, we will begin with you reading your witness statement which has been received by the prosecution.
"I have taken into account that your statement comes in approximately 200 pages and I believe that the reading of the statement will take two days. I am also concerned about your right to be represented by a lawyer. So, I will postpone the cross-examination by the deputy public prosecutor.
"You have given your word to have a lawyer appointed within a month. As the hearing day was set on Feb 20, I am sure the DPP can do their cross-examination with you having a lawyer by then," he said.
When the judge asked whether she had filed a complaint to the Malaysian Bar against the five lawyers who withdrew themselves from her case, Siti Bainun said: "No, because they are still helping me prepare the statement of claim and other documents relating to the proceedings."
Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutir Zilfinaz Abbas objected to several paragraphs in Siti Bainun’s witness statement on the grounds that it touched upon the personal matters of previous witnesses and the expertise of the prosecution’s witnesses.
The judge ordered the prosecution to list down the paragraphs in question. The court then stood down the proceedings to decide on the matter.
On Nov 24 last year, the judge ordered Siti Bainun to enter her defence against two charges of neglecting and abusing Bella after the prosecution managed to establish a prima facie case against her at the end of its case.
Siti Bainun, 30, was alleged to have committed the offence at a condominium unit in Wangsa Maju between February and June 2021.
The charges were framed under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001 which carries imprisonment for up to 20 years or a fine of RM50,000 or both, upon conviction.