Appeal filed against acquittal of woman in sexual assault case
THE prosecution has filed an appeal against the decision of the High Court last week to acquit a 39-year-old, who is biologically female but lived as a man, of sexual penetration of a minor.
In the unusual case, Zunika Ahmad had pleaded guilty in December 2015 to six counts of sexual penetration of a minor and one count of sexual exploitation under the Children and Young Persons Act.
In the unprecedented case, Senior Judge Kan Ting Chiu had ruled that sexual penetration of a minor, an offence under Section 376A(1)(b) of the Penal Code, applies only to men and a woman cannot be found guilty of the offence.
Yesterday, a media statement from the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said: "The ruling on Section 376A(1)(b) is a matter of public interest. In the arguments before Senior Judge Kan, the prosecution had submitted that Section 376A of the Penal Code was clearly intended by Parliament to be gender-neutral."
The statement added that the prosecution had also submitted that an analysis of the wording of Section 376A(1)(b) in the context of the Penal Code as a whole showed that the provision was clearly intended to apply to both male and female accused persons.
These arguments were rejected by Justice Kan in the case of Zunika who had sexually abused a teenage girl who was her neighbour.
"Having reviewed the written grounds of decision, the prosecution has concluded that an appeal is merited against Senior Judge Kan's finding that Section 376A(1)(b) does not apply to female accused persons, as well as his decision not only to set aside the accused's plea of guilt on these six charges but also to record an order of acquittal on all six charges," said the AGC statement.
The prosecution has also appealed against the sentence of eight months' jail imposed on Zunika for the remaining charge of sexual exploitation under the Children and Young Persons Act.