PUTRAJAYA: A national bowler escaped custodial sentence for committing statutory rape with a 13-year-old girl three years ago.
The Court of Appeal yesterday allowed Noor Afizal Azizan's appeal against the High Court decision to sentence him to five years' jail.
A three-man panel led by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Raus Sharif substituted the jail term with an order which bound him over for good behaviour for five years.
If Noor Afizal breached the order, his bailor would have to pay RM25,000.
Raus, in his decision, agreed with counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who represented Noor Afizal, that public interest would not be served if his client was given a custodial sentence when he had a bright future.
Hisyam said that Noor Afizal was 18 years old when the offence was committed.
The Sessions Court in Malacca bound over Noor Afizal for good behaviour on a RM25,000 bond for five years after he pleaded guilty to raping the girl at a hotel in Ayer Keroh, Malacca on June 5, 2009.
The Sessions Court, on July 5 last year, in binding him over, considered several factors, including that there was a consensual sexual relationship between him and the girl.
The public prosecutor successfully appealed to the High Court on Sept 20 last year and obtained a five-year jail term.
Noor Afizal, now 21, represented Negri Sembilan between 2004-2010 and at the same time he represented Malaysia in the National Youth Category for five years between 2004-2008.
He is expected to represent Kedah in several upcoming tournaments.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nadia Hanim Mohd Tajuddin appeared for the prosecution.