Crime & Courts

Man charged with harassing photographer sent to Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta [Updated]

SHAH ALAM: Part-time event management consultant Mohamad Safiq Rosli, who was charged with repeatedly harassing a female photographer, has been ordered to be sent to Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta in Perak.

Magistrate Sasha Diana Sabtu said the court found the 38-year-old man, the first individual to be charged for the offence under Section 507A(1) of the Penal Code, was of unsound mind and did not realise that his actions were against the law when he committed the offences.

The new law provision which was passed in Parliament and came into effect in May last year reads stalking as repeated acts of harassment intended or likely to cause distress, fear, or alarm to any person. It carries a maximum three years jail, a fine, or both if found guilty.

Sasha Diana said the court was satisfied that the accused had committed the offences repeatedly on the victim as per his charge in August last year.

She said the defence had successfully invoked that the accused was of unsound mind under Section 84 of the Penal Code.

"Therefore, he is acquitted and discharged. He is to be placed in a safe place and detained at the pleasure of the Sultan of Selangor under Section 348 of the Criminal Procedure Code," she said today after hearing submissions from the prosecution and defence in a one-day trial.

On Aug 10 last year, Safiq pleaded not guilty before Sasha Diana to repeatedly harassing Acacia Mardiana Daud.

The magistrate also ordered Safiq to be sent to Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta for a mental evaluation upon the request of deputy public prosecutor Zilfinaz Abbas, who was assisted by Analia Kamaruddin.

During proceedings today, the court ordered prosecution witnesses Acacia and investigating officer Assistant Superintendent Mohd Hafizee Ismail from the Petaling Jaya police headquarters to read their witness statements in silence.

The defence also brought in its sole witness which was Dr Ian Lloyd Anthony, a consultant forensics psychiatrist attached to the forensic unit of Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta.

He said he was subpoenaed to give his expert evidence on Safiq, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was of unsound mind when he committed the offences.

He said Safiq's mental disorder was serious and his condition was predominantly delusional in nature.

"He had multiple delusions. The main delusions being delusions of love or erotomania. A person experiencing this type of delusion believes that someone body else is in love with him.

"In this particular case, the accused firmly believed that the victim was in love with him and also of course, he was in love with her.

"This delusion began almost eight years ago and evolved over a period of time. Because of this delusion, his entire life centred around the victim.

"He made it his duty to know every single detail of the victim with regard to personal life, work, her likes and dislikes.

"He believed that they were in a romantic relationship, but in actual fact, it was a one-way communication relationship because she never reciprocated," he said.

Dr Anthony added that Safiq had incognitive impairment which rendered him incapable of understanding what he was doing was wrong and against the law.

Safiq's condition required him to get a combination of anti-psychotic medication and psychotherapy, he said, adding that it was a lifelong treatment and a permanent condition but if treated correctly, a person may be well and achieve stability.

Asked if Safiq would be able to get the treatment if he was sent to jail, he said getting anti-psychotic medicine would not be a problem but psychotherapy, which was more important, could only be delivered in hospital.

Meanwhile, counsel Jason Wee, who was holding a watch brief for Acacia, read out her victim impact statement.

Acacia,31, said she had requested Wee to do it as she does not want the stalker to even hear her voice.

The freelance photographer who has moved to the United Kingdom said she had been harassed and terrorised by Safiq since she was 23.

"He has found a way to stalk me, my friends, my family, my house, my work place, my public event engagements and find me in a completely different country across the world.

"He has disturbed my social media pages, my physical life, and more. He has sent me unwanted gifts and notes addressed to me.

"He has made over thirty social media accounts to harass me eventhough I try blocking him and ignoring him and asked him to stop.

"He has made his intentions clear that he means to find me, that he needs me. He has spoken about wanting to 'taste my soul'. He has wasted eight years of his life to disturb my life," she said.

Acacia said Safiq had also sexually harassed her by showing his private parts and wanting to do inappropriate acts with her.

Acacia said she was scared and scarred from the harassment and was now far from her old carefree, confident, happy and friendly self.

"For eight years, I have cried for help. I have felt hopeless. I have felt like I will get killed because I know he is so obsessed with me and will not stop to find me, no matter what anyone says, no matter if I am married.

"The only thing that can protect me is the law. I beg you. Please, please make him stay away from me forever. Please make sure he never disturbs me for the rest of my life," she said.

Counsel Fithril Hakim Ab Jalil represented Safiq.

On Dec 20, Sasha Diana rejected Safiq's guilty plea which was conditional and ordered the case to go on trial.

Zilfinaz had told the court that he did not want Safiq's admission of guilt to enable him to use defence of insanity to escape jail and fine under Section 347 of the Criminal Procedure Code for judgment of acquittal on grounds of mental disorder.

He was charged with repeatedly harassing Acacia through the Twitter application under the account name "@sopert99" by sending three communications which expressed his feelings for the woman on her Twitter account "@ShaFoShizzle" which was read at a house here.

He was alleged to have committed the offence between 1.40am last July 15 and 5.58pm on July 21 last year despite knowing that the act was likely to cause, distress, fear or alarm to her.

Through an Instagram post, Acacia shared her experience of being occasionally sexually harassed by a person named Shafiq Rosli, including exposing the lewd messages he had sent her.

The accused was believed to have started harassing the victim since 2016 by leaving comments on her blog and had followed her to a fastfood restaurant, to her house and to the UK at one point in time.

The UK authorities had arrested him and slapped with harassment-related charges in court but he had fled the UK and had not had his day in court.

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