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Nigerian convict’s appeal dismissed (2019)

BY Fadley Faisal

THE High Court has dismissed a Nigerian citizen’s application against his sentence for attempted extortion.

Muhammad Hafiz bin Abdullah Ugorji @ Chimere Charles, who is married to a Bruneian, began an extramarital relationship with a married woman in May 2015, through a social media site.

The online affair escalated into a sexual relationship, where the pair would meet at a hotel for sex.

After the woman ended their illicit relationship because of Muhammad Hafiz’s increasingly possessive behaviour, he threatened her with the disclosure of a video showing them having sex together, unless she paid him BND5,000. Muhammad Hafiz was arrested after the woman lodged a police report, and charged with attempted extortion.

He was convicted after a trial, leading to a sentence of three years and eight months’ imprisonment and one caning by the Magistrate’s Court in December 2018. Muhammad Hafiz filed an appeal in the High Court subsequently.

Chief Justice Dato Paduka Steven Chong, having looked at the mandatory minimum sentence for the offence, found it to be not excessive, particularly after considering the gravity of the threat and the fact that the conviction was after trial.

“Extortion is invariably a serious offence because of the mental anguish it causes to the victim, (and) deterrence is an important element in the sentence in a case such as this,” said the Chief Justice, dismissing the appeal.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sharon Yeo represented the Public Prosecutor in response to the appeal.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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