An Unusual Weapon & A Look At Assault As A Crime In Malaysia
Every morning as we head to the office, the staff at the lobby’s front desk always greets us with a copy of theSun. It’s nice to skim through daily news for legal issues to blog about as we endure lame music-less elevator rides up but it’s usually pretty uninteresting. Today however, the front page had a small headline about assault that caught our eye.
TLDR; Guy has chickens (henceforth known as Chicken Guy) in his yard peacefully going about their avian business. Other guy (henceforth known as Builder) is next door getting some work done. Builder’s dog escapes from his car, jumps the fence and goes to town on the innocent chickens. Chicken Guy turns up and is horrified at the massacre, gets incredibly angry and starts a fight with Builder while wielding one of his deceased clucker children.
Yes. You read it right. An angry man hit another guy with a dead chicken. There’s a report in the NZ Herald here about it.
It got us thinking though – what if something like that happened here in Malaysia? We were unable to find the latest assault statistics however this data collection site indicates that Malaysia had 5,716 counts of assault in 2006. (we’re unsure how accurate this by the way but it’s the closest we could find to a specific number).
Assault is covered in the Penal Code under Section 351 to Section 358. In this case, the courts originally charged Chicken Guy with assault using a chicken as a weapon but the charges were eventually dropped to plain assault. The convicted charge could fall under Section 352 but also likely under Section 358 as the death of Chicken Guy’s cluckers can be seen as grave provocation for the assault.
If under Section 352, the punishment is imprisonment which may extend to 3 months or a fine which may extend to RM1000 or both. The Penal Code explains ‘grave provocation’ as:-
Grave and sudden provocation will not mitigate the punishment for an offence under this section, if the provocation is sought or voluntarily provoked by the offender as an excuse for the offence; if the provocation is given by anything done in obedience to the law or by a public servant in the lawful exercise of the powers of such public servant; or if the provocation is given by anything done in the lawful exercise of the right of private defence. Whether the provocation was grave and sudden enough to mitigate the offence, is a question of fact.
The Penal Code also covers different types of assault such as Section 352A,’criminal force by spouse’ (domestic abuse); Section 353- ‘using criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty’; Section 356- ‘assault or criminal force in attempt to commit theft or property carried by a person’; etc.
The punishments generally are imprisonment or a fine or both and some types include whipping, such as sexual assault (Section 354) and robbery (Section 356). Th highest listed fine from Section 352 – Section 358, is RM2000 (‘criminal force by spouse’, Section 352A) and the longest listed jail term is 10 years (‘Assault or use of criminal force to a person with intent to outrage modesty’, Section 354).