Events leading to the purported marriage of a 40-year-old restaurant manager to a 13-year-old girl here are being pieced together as prosecutors and law enforcers investigate why the teenager withdrew a rape report against the man.
The Sessions Court here has given the prosecution till June 6 to decide whether they will proceed with the rape case, framed under Section 376 (1) of the Penal Code.
The court has also blocked July 1 to July 4 as dates for the man's trial to proceed if the prosecution decides to pursue the matter.
It is understood that restaurant manager Riduan Masmud, under native customary laws, had paid RM5,000 as sogit (compensation) to the girl's father to allow him to marry the girl.
However, doubts surfaced as to whether the marriage was properly solemnised under Islamic law after Sabah Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad questioned it.
Jainab, on Tuesday, said she learned from the Kota Kinabalu Syariah Court that Riduan had yet to get the court's consent to take a second wife and, as such, the marriage might be invalid.
Yesterday, officials from the Sabah Welfare Department were working out legal issues and documentation as they attempt to seek an injunction on the marriage as well as nullify it at the Syariah Court.
The welfare officials, who declined to be named, said that they were applying to the court for the girl to be placed under the department's care, as provided for under the Child Act 2001.
It is learned that no official court document was filed in either the High Court or the Syariah Court here yesterday evening.
Sabah Women Action Resources Group (SAWO) legal adviser Mary Lee thanked Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail for the assurance to pursue the rape case, saying the group hoped the purported marriage and the withdrawal of the police report would be investigated quickly.