'Kedai Komunis' CD shop owner to be sentenced tomorrow
Bandar Seri Begawan - 'Kedai Komunis' CD shop owner Yong Teck Sang was yesterday convicted at the Intermediate Court of selling pirated CDs.
Final prosecution submissions to the court by DPP Hjh Emeralda PD Hj Abas drew the case to a close as Intermediate Court Judge Pg Hjh Hanani Pg Hj Metusain was of the view that the prosecution had proven the two charges against Yong Teck Sang to be beyond the court's reasonable doubt.
The court will pass the sentence on the defendant Thursday.
The court convicted the defendant on two charges of offering for sale copyright-infringing CDs and VCDs of copyright work belonging to Suria Records Sdn Bhd, Malaysia.
Initially, Yong denied the allegations.
The trial, which has been ongoing for about a year now, saw many hiccups including a voir dire hearing on the evidence itself given in court and attempts to order the shop in question to halt its business for allegedly selling other pirated CDs.
The prosecution also established a prima facie case against the defendant when he elected to remain silent.
The court then adduced adverse inference and after final prosecution submissions drew the case to a close, the court found the defendant guilty. Yesterday, Defence Counsels Shazale Hj Mohd Salleh and Lt Col (Rtd) Harif Ibrahim submitted a plea in mitigation to the court.
Harif stated that the defendant, 49 and single, has dependents who rely on his businesses for their livelihood as the shop employs 12 staff of which three are locals and the shop has been in the business for 20 years.
The court was informed that the defendant's two music CDs (copyright titles) belonging to Suria Records, Malaysia was the subject matter of the case and commended that more than a thousand titles on offer for sale in the shop are genuine.
Amongst others, the counsels also pleaded for the court to take into consideration the defendant's cooperation with the police and keep in mind the effect on the defendant's image in the Chinese and Malay business community, the Yong family name and reputation as, if any, damage caused to the business by the saga will take a long time to heal and will come with a costly price to pay within the defendant's business circle both locally and abroad.
The defence urged the court to place a non-custodial sentence as otherwise the business will be neglected and effect the livelihood of his people and would result in the closing of his shops.
"We submit and let the story be that... a respectable Chinese businessman was convicted and fined ... and not from a respectable Chinese businessman to a convicted and imprisoned person," the defence urged the court.
The court also heard from the defence that the defendant is a victim of circumstance where the emergency copyright order is still at its infancy and the public is still confused as other shops are or were selling the same product.
The defence also submitted that there is no deterrence in incarcerating the defendant and save from handing out an excessive sentence with the totality principle in mind.
The trial was initially conducted by former DPP Joe Chan Jin Yuh and was taken over by DPP Hjh Emeralda PD Hj Abas.
Defence Counsels Shazale Hj Mohd Salleh and Lt Col (Rtd) Harif Ibrahim represented Yong Teck Sang in court.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin