STRICT rules imposed on the methods of proving offences under the Syariah law is meant to protect a person’s honour and dignity, aside from serving as a reminder to Muslims that punishments received in the hereafter are more severe compared to the worldly ones.
This was said by Hjh Zuraini Hj Sharbawi, head of Law Advisor at the Attorneys General Chamber (AGC) who was one of the panelists during a briefing held at the Royal Brunei Technical Services’ (RBTS) Training Simulation Centre yesterday. “Islamic law has its own processes; it is neither ‘barbaric’ nor it is ‘jahiliyyah’, because under the Syariah Penal Code,” she said, Muslims are strictly regulated by the law.
“We cannot simply accuse a person of having committed an offence without presenting evidences that are valid beyond doubt, as stated in the Quran,” she added.
Hjh Zuraini also said that such was an instance of Qazaf, in which an offence is committed when accusations claiming that a person committed offences, such as zina (fornication), rape, drinking alcohol, and murder are made without any valid proof.
“Some questioned the stringent rules applied to the method of proving in the Syariah law, but they should also think of the reasons behind it,” she said.
“And the law itself is a reminder to Muslims, urging them to think that if the worldly punishments are ‘harsh’, what about the punishments in the hereafter?”
During the briefing, she explained the importance of validity in confessions by suspects and testimonies from witnesses.
She said that for confessions to be considered valid under the Islamic law, the suspects must be sane, adults and willing to confess without compulsion.
She added that testimonies must come from witnesses who have strong memory and have good sense of sight, touch and hearing.
Hjh Zuraini also emphasised that certain offences require certain number of testimonies from qualified witnesses, and without them, suspects cannot be persecuted under the Syariah law, specifically for the punishments under hudud cases.
A question was also raised by one of the members of the RBTS, asking whether a person who was already charged with an offence under the Syariah law would also be charged under the civil law.
In such cases, Hjh Zuraini answered that the person is not eligible to be tried for the same offence under another court as “double jeopardy” are applied in the country’s law.
Under the “double jeopardy“, defendants are not allowed to be tried again for similar charges following a legitimate conviction.
Hjh Zuraini added that the same can also be applied if the person has been charged under the Syariah court but there was not enough evidence to convict him or her of an offence. “In such cases, prosecutors would then have to be careful in charging anyone for any offences in the courts and before doing that, one must ensure that (he or she) has enough evidence to do so.”
The Brunei Times
Thu, 15 May 2014