“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
A central part of the mythology of the criminal justice system is that everyone is treated equally, regardless of his or her race or class. The concept that no one is above the law is a noble one. Like many good ideas, reality usually lags far behind the rhetoric.
Local newspapers today carry front page headlines about the suspect in the Tiffany Wong’s murder walking free because the prosecutors had failed to establish a prima facie case against the suspect who was 17 at the time of the crime. Despite DNA samples and other evidence as well as the fact that the suspect had surrendered to the police, judge Stephen Chung Hian Guan acquitted the accused.
Tiffany’s family was devastated by the verdict and could not contain their anger after the verdict was passed. The verdict was the talk of the town today with many expressing their anger that the rich seem to be above the law. Whatever happens to justice for poor Tiffany?
Sarawakians are familiar with the Tiffany Wong tragedy, but for those who aren’t, I’ll summarize the tragedy.
Tiffany’s body was found in a drain in Bakam sub-district, some 40km from Miri, on March 25, 2011. A plastic bag was wrapped around her head.
The police were led there by a 17-year-old boy who had surrendered himself at the Miri Central Police Station. He was accompanied to the station by his parents. The teenager, a student of an institute of higher learning here, was a classmate of Tiffany and has been detained for further investigation. Tiffany had been badly beaten before she was strangled as her face was swollen with bruises and there were injuries on her chest.
Tiffany, an ex- student of St Joseph Secondary School Miri, was reported missing on March 24, a day after the SPM results were announced. On that day, Tiffany’s mum had seen Tiffany getting into the boy’s car supposedly to go to their school to get their SPM results.
Her murder shocked the whole city. Many netizens, appalled by the heinous crime, called for the death penalty for the 17-year-old boy.
You can read more about the case at this link.
Young Tiffany’s story is certainly sad, and her family is experiencing tremendous grief and anger that justice has eluded them.
Life isn’t fair, but a trial should be.