Justice delayed is justice denied is a popular legal maxim that means if legal redress is not forthcoming in a timely manner, it is akin to having no redress at all.
I believe the friends and family members of marketing executive Chee Gaik Yap who was raped and murdered in 2006 would heartily agree with this.
On Aug 9, almost ten years after her tragic demise, businessman Shahril Jaafar was sentenced to death by the Alor Star High Court for Chee's murder.
Despite the weight of the crime that he was accused off, Shahril almost got away with it on two occasions.
The first was when he skipped police bail and left for Perth, Australia, where he obtained permanent resident status. He was rearrested six years later upon his return on Jan 17, 2012.
He was charged two weeks later and stood trial, only to be acquitted by the High Court on June 25, 2013, without his defence being called.
In an emotionally charged scene, moments after the High Court discharged and acquitted Shahril of murdering his daughter, Chee Ah Sau barged out of the courtroom located on the second floor of the building and attempted to jump off the balcony, he was pulled to safety by press photographers, policemen and family members.
Speaking to reporters later, a heartbroken Ah Sau said: "I want justice for my daughter, I have waited so long, but it turned out like this."
Ah Sau's determination in seeking justice for his daughter finally paid off on Sunday. But as he told reporters, it remains to be seen if the accused will appeal his sentence and conviction.
Besides the long and painful wait for justice, Ah Sau and his family also had to endure the pain of seeing his daughter's reputation besmirched by the accused.
In his defence, Shahril resorted to painting Gaik Yap as a scarlet woman, saying she was a prostitute and that sex between them was consensual.Words that hurt an already grieving family
In an impact statement recorded by the court after Shahril was sentenced, Ah Sau said: "My daughter was not a prostitute, she was a university graduate and had a bright future ahead of her.
"She had been planning to go to Germany to gain work experience. Everything was ready. The tickets had been bought, then it happened," he said.
According to Ah Sau, Gaik Yap the third of six siblings, was an intelligent girl and the only one of his daughters with a university degree.
He described her as the hope of the family, and I am sure she would have achieved much if she was still alive today.
A bright light that was wiped out to soon because of one's man lust and capacity for violence.
But Shahril is only one of many such predators that lurk in society, and as the story of Gaik Yap has shown us, as heinous as the crime can be, justice can be a long time in coming.
Even now as I write this, there can be no telling when this rapist and murderer will actually go to the gallows.
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Borneo Post Online