Bandar Seri Begawan - A Canadian citizen is currently remanded in prison following a case that was brought before the Magistrate's Court in the capital yesterday that heard a total of four charges against him under the country's Penal Code, Chapter 22.
The defendant has been accused of three counts of voluntarily causing hurt against his Bruneian wife and two daughters aged 16 and 20 respectively and one count for wrongfully restraining one of his daughters at their rented residence in the Bengkurong area.
It was stated in court that the defendant was arrested on September 17 after the alleged attack on his family a day earlier between 12.30am and 1.30am. He allegedly pushed his 48-year-old wife against a wall, his younger daughter to the floor, stepped on her head, pushed his older daughter towards a clothesline hanger, punched her abdomen and kicked her thigh.
The prosecution represented by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Pg Hajah Hana Molina Pg Hj Mohammad also told the court that the wife is currently receiving treatment at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital for injuries sustained during the incident that required stitches to her forehead.
Two weeks' time has been requested by the DPP for adjournment pending medical reports before finalising the charges against the defendant.
Though no objection was made by the DPP in relation to bail subject to certain conditions including alternative accommodation as the defendant and victims had been sharing a home, as well as not to approach or contact the victims directly or indirectly by the defendant. The defendant told the court that he had financial constraints and could not make the S5.000 bail or provide a local surety.
In resignation, the defendant was heard accepting his 14-day detention stating, "I have only my wife and family for the last 14 years" and that friends or acquaintances would not be an option in providing financial assistance and a place to temporarily reside.
Upon hearing this, the presiding magistrate gave the defendant the option to contact the Canadian High Commission in Brunei but, in response, the defendant said he had little confidence that personnel at the commission could help stating that the commission "can't do anything" and "that form of democracy doesn't work here".
Being unemployed and his residency in the country sponsored by his wife, he said that he has n,o income and feels "stuck" and "being hung out to dry".
He explained to the court that he was in the midst of obtaining a Permanent Resident IC, with recent progress being an interview with relevant authorities that was conducted about a month ago, and was hoping for this document to help in his employment application.
Apologising to the court chaired by Senior Magistrate Pg Masni Pg Hj Bahar for his interruptions, the 45-yearold man also claimed that this particular episode was the first time he had "made a problem in Brunei" and that the rift in the family had stemmed from financial frustration. He also claimed that his family had attacked him first and that the abuse against him had started a year and a half ago.
He was also heard voicing his "surprise" and that he was "shocked" with the charges that he has been accused of claiming that the police had only presented him with only one charge prior to being brought to court.
"I cannot believe what Lam hearing," he told in open court. He was also willing to plead guilty to the charges but the magistrate refused to accept it due to ongoing investigations.
The defendant is facing a maximum of four years in prison and fines. Three years. jail and a fine under Section 323 of the Penal Code and one-year jail and a fine under Section 341 of the Penal Code.
The case will be further mentioned on October 3, 2012 at 2pm.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin