By Hafiz Yatim | The Edge Malaysia

The High Court on Wednesday quashed a human trafficking charge faced by a couple as the court found it to be in violation of Article 7 of the Federal Constitution and section 153 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) regarding particulars of the offence.

Judge Datuk Noorin Badaruddin also ruled that the charge faced by Michael P. Arthur Edward Chelliah and Alice Prethima Michael ought to have been quashed, as it amounted to a duplicity.

Michael, 65, and Alice, 62, were jointly charged under section 12 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Act 2007 at the Sessions Court here on July 21 last year, with trafficking foreign national Elisabeth Nogo Oyon, for the purpose of exploitation to slavery between August 2004 and March 13, 2023 at Persiaran Syed Putra.

Noorin also ruled the charge preferred on them cannot be cured of the errors on them as stipulated under section 156 of the CPC.

This is because the offence the couple were charged with started before the 2007 ATIPSOM Act was enacted, and this violated Article 7 of the Constitution, which includes protection of citizens against retrospective criminal law.

Their counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad had submitted that the charge against Michael and Alice should be quashed as the purported offence they were charged with began from August 2004, before the ATIPSOM Act was formulated.

He further submitted that the charge faced by the couple amounted to duplicity as it alleges the commission of two or more offences, namely one before the law that was enacted and another after it was enacted and amended in 2002.

Following the decision made by Noorin, Amer Hamzah said he would update the Sessions Court on Monday over the High Court’s decision.