Court orders mental observation for woman in Batu Ferringhi mosque disturbance

GEORGE TOWN: A Magistrate’s Court here has directed that a 65-year-old woman be sent to Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta for a month’s observation for causing a disturbance at a Batu Feringghi mosque.

This comes after Sofiah Abdul Majid refused to enter a plea when the charge was read to her before Magistrate Nadratun Naim Mohd Saidi at the George Town court on Wednesday (March 20).

“All lies. I do not understand lies. I do not agree with the charge,” she said.

She then said that she did not agree with the charge when asked by the court interpreter if she understood what she was being accused of.

“I do not agree with the charge. That was not what I said, it is fabricated,” she said.

No plea was recorded as she refused to answer as to whether she understood the charge against her.

Following this, Nadratun, the court interpreter and the police had to stop Sofiah several times from disrupting the proceedings as she tried to speak after she was ordered to be sent for psychiatric observation.

“From the court’s observation, the accused is in an unstable state. As such, the court orders for her to be referred to the mental hospital for observation under Section 324 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” said Nadratun.

“The accused will be brought to the court on April 19 with findings from the observation,” she added.

According to the charge sheet, Sofiah had uttered insulting words against the Imam and Bilal at Masjid Jamek Ar-Rahman in Batu Ferringhi at around 10pm on March 12.

She was charged under Section 298 of the Penal Code for deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of them, by uttering those words.

If found guilty, she faces a maximum one-year jail sentence, a fine or both.

Earlier, state prosecution director Mohd Nordin Ismail told the court that the accused was referred for psychiatric observation and is due for a second visit.

He said that at this stage, the court can refer the accused for further observation under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code if it deems fit.

“I will not make any application,” he added.

Mohd Nordin also said there was no finding obtained from the first visit.

Section 342 involves a lengthy evaluation process that may take up to a month in a designated psychiatric hospital.

Earlier, when being brought to the courtroom, Sofiah tried to kick photographers taking her picture.