TAWAU: The High Court today denied the bail application of seven teenage boys charged with the murder of a 17-year-old vocational college student in Lahad Datu, pending the next case hearing.

Judge Datuk Duncan Sikodol ruled that there were no special circumstances justifying the granting of bail in this case.

He added that the application was premature since the case has not been transferred to the High Court yet, where the applicants will have the opportunity to file their application.

Deputy public prosecutors Hurman Hussain and Ng Juhn Tao appeared for the prosecution, while all the accused were represented by Datuk Ram Singh, Kamarudin Mohmad Chinki, Amirul Amin Rashid, and Chen Wen Jye.

Earlier in the proceedings, Ram requested to apply the Child Act 2001 on the applicants, given they did not fall under Section 388(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code which is only applicable to those under 16 years of age, women, and sick or infirm persons.

“The seven applicants, out of the 13 who have been charged, are all local and come from various parts of Sabah such as Kota Marudu, Pitas and Kota Belud. They do not pose flight risks and are under their parents’ care. If bail is granted, the parents will stand as the sureties,“ said Ram .

However, Hurman argued that the applicants did not fall within any categories under Section 84 of the Child Act.

“The main reason for bail was primarily for the applicants to continue their Vocational Certificate, but that is no longer possible as averred by the director of the vocational college. They may only pursue their education as a private candidate to sit for SPM.

“The prison department’s affidavit is very clear on its willingness and ability to facilitate this measure, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

“This case also involves multiple witnesses and a crime scene familiar to the applicants, putting the crime scene and witnesses in a vulnerable position to tampering,“ he emphasised.

On May 16, the Lahad Datu Magistrate Court scheduled June 27 for the next case mention.

On April 2, the 13 teenage boys aged between 16 and 19 were jointly charged in the Lahad Datu Magistrate Court with the murder of 17-year-old Mohammad Nazmie Aizzat Mohd Narul Azwan in March, but no plea was recorded.

They allegedly murdered the victim at Bilik Asrama 7 Resak and 5 Belian, Lahad Datu Vocational College, between 9 pm on March 21 and 7.38 am on March 22.

The charge was framed under Section 302 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 34 of the same Act, which provides the death penalty or imprisonment of up to 40 years and not more than 12 strokes of the cane, upon conviction.