The Attorney General’s Office indicated on Friday that it would continue pursuing a teenager accused of stealing a Rp 10,000 cellphone voucher, despite a recent ruling dismissing the matter.
“We embrace the principle of legality, as long as the crime falls under the criminal charges. This is the theft of phone voucher that falls under the Article 362 [of the Criminal Code],” said Marwan Effendy, the deputy attorney general for internal supervision.
He was commenting on a preliminary court decision rejecting the indictment against Deli Suhendi, 14, and ordered he be cleared of theft charges because, among other things, he was not accompanied by lawyers during the police interrogation.
“For underage children, there are special rules for the trial and detention procedures, but the criminal charges will be the same,” the deputy said.
Marwan said unconventional methods to settle controversial cases were often rejected by the Supreme Court if they were against the principle of legality.
“We once used the ‘sociological’ approach but our decision was overturned by the Supreme Court,” he said, apparently referring to the decision by prosecutors to drop charges against antigraft officials Chandra Hamzah and Bibit Samad Rianto last year.
Prosecutors said “it would be morally harmful than beneficial to try the two officials,” but the top court ruled such an approach was not recognized by the Indonesian judiciary system.
The AGO’s insistence on the trial drew protests from the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas Anak) for ignoring a regulation that adopts a special approach for children.
“As a prosecutor, Marwan Effendy has violated the 2009 joint ministerial decree on how to deal the children who are in conflict with the law, and if he insists to go through with the case he will set a precedence for other prosecutors,” commission chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait said.
“It needs to be considered that there was no aggrieved person who reported this case, but police reported it themselves and there was no Rp 10,000 credit voucher as the evidence for the trial.”
Supriyadi Sebayang, a lawyer for Deli, told the Jakarta Globe that the defense was ready.
“Although it is surprising that the prosecutor insists to file the appeal against Deli, we are going to fight against the prosecutor.”
“The prosecutor’s willingness to continue with the case has raised question about the motive behind the action, whether there is a fear toward the investigators [police]?” he said.
“This is not a big case, not worth millions of rupiah, but only Rp 10,000 and there is no aggrieved person.”