A former Malaysian diplomat has pleaded guilty to the indecent assault of a New Zealand lady, with a court hearing he burst into her bedroom naked from the waist down.
Mohammed Rizalman bin Ismail was a military attache at Malaysia’s Wellington embassy when the incident happened final year, and the case triggered outrage when he fled to his homeland citing diplomatic immunity.
Rizalman was ultimately extradited to face the New Zealand courts and had pleaded not guilty to attempted rape and burglary.
But as his trial starting on Monday, the original charges have been dismissed when the 39-year-old admitted one count of indecent assault against Wellington lady Tania Billingsley.
Rizalman’s lawyer Donald Stevens cited extenuating situations such as mental illness, though prosecutors contest this.
A summary of information study out to the court stated that on Might 9 last year, Ms Billingsley was at property in Brooklyn, the Wellington suburb exactly where the Malaysian embassy is located, when she heard a knock on her bedroom door.
Rizalman then entered wearing no trousers or underpants. She screamed and struggled with him, managing to push him out of the residence just before calling police.
Mr Stevens said Rizalman told police the pair had been to the cinema together that day. The summary of details did not specify regardless of whether Ms Billingsley agreed with that claim.
Prosecutor Grant Burston mentioned specialists would be named to dispute Rizalman’s argument that he was mentally unwell, saying his behaviour was far more consistent with “cannabis use and anxiousness”.
Rizalman sat quietly in the dock as an interpreter explained proceedings to him.
Indecent assault carries a maximum jail term of seven years in New Zealand.
Judge David Collins said a hearing into disputed elements of the case would take spot on Friday, ahead of sentencing.
He said if a home detention sentence was imposed, and he stressed it was only a possibility, Rizalman may be allowed to serve it at the Malaysian embassy.
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Topics: courts-and-trials, law-crime-and-justice, sexual-offences, new-zealand, malaysia, asia
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