Malaysian Indian coach gets jail for molesting athletes

July 12th, 2008 - 3:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, July 12 (IANS) Indian origin former athletics coach C. Ramanathan has been sentenced to four years in jail by a court for molesting two underage athletes during training for an Asian athletics event in New Delhi in 1992. The incident occurred when the athletes, who were then 15 and 16, were attending training for the Asian Junior Athletics Championship in New Delhi, The Star said Saturday.

Ramanathan, now 72, still pleads innocence. His counsel, lawyer-lawmaker Karpal Singh said he would apply for judicial review at the Federal Court.

The appeals court directed that he begin serving the jail term immediately, The Star said Saturday.

In allowing an appeal against his acquittal, Court of Appeal judges Justice Zainun Ali, Abu Samah Nordin and Sulong Matjeraie, Friday said they were satisfied the sessions court judge had given maximum evaluation on the entire proceedings.

“There is no miscarriage of justice as the decision was delivered to him in less than a month after his defence was called,” said Justice Zainun Ali.

Hence, she said the grounds of judgment given later may not entitle him to say “justice has been delayed”.

Upon hearing the verdict, Ramanathan, seated near the dock, looked grim, the newspaper said.

The former teacher, said he did not expect such a decision. “I am shocked. I will definitely appeal. It is ridiculous,” said the father of two.

On Nov 8, 1996, Sessions Judge Umi Kalthum jailed Ramanathan for four years on each of two charges of molesting the junior athletes between Oct 23 and Oct 27, 1992.

Both sentences are to run concurrently.

On Jan 19, 2005, High Court judge Justice Abdull Hamid Embong allowed Ramanathan’s appeal and acquitted him after ruling that the trial judge had delayed in writing the grounds of judgment.

He had a long wait because the high court bench took five years to write the judgment.

Justice Zainun Ali said the delay in writing the judgment by the trial judge for five years would not vitiate the entire proceedings unless it could be shown that there was miscarriage of justice.

She said the Bench was satisfied as the trial judge had recorded her observation on various demeanours of witnesses.

Justice Zainun also ruled that the trial judge had used the correct standard of proof and that the High Court judge also acknowledged it.

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