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Karpal Singh acquitted of sedition charge

June 13, 2010

Written by Bernama
Friday, 11 June 2010 18:08

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Karpal Singh was acquitted and discharged by the High Court here on Friday, June 11 of a charge of uttering seditious words against the Sultan of Perak.

Justice Azman Abdullah freed him without calling for his defence after ruling that the prosecution had failed to make a prima facie case against him.

He said the prosecution had failed to prove that Karpal Singh’s statement, made at a news conference at his office here on Feb 6 last year, had caused the people to be angry with the sultan.

He said the prosecution had to prove that the statement had a tendency to incite hatred or contempt or raise feelings of uneasiness with any ruler or government as provided for under section 3 (1) of the Sedition Act.

However, it had only proven that what took place after Friday prayers at the Ubadiah Mosque was a demonstration and that the public only knew of Karpal Singh’s statement in the news aired at 6pm and 9pm that day, he said.

Moreover, he said, the prosecution witness, especially Multimedia and Communication Commission Enforcement Department Director Mazlan Othman, only gave verbal evidence and there was no document to support the prosecution’s contention that Karpal Singh’s statement had caused comments on the sultan’s action in the blogs.

There was also no document adduced to support Mazlan’s evidence linking Karpal Singh’s statement to the contents in the Perak government’s website.

He also said that investigating officer ASP Suhaimi Mohamad’s evidence that 103 police reports were lodged following Karpal Singh’s statement went more to show the complainants’ anger and hatred against the lawyer and not the sultan.

Karpal Singh was alleged to have uttered the seditious words against the sultan at Messrs Karpal Singh & Co in Jalan Pudu Lama between noon and 12.30pm on Feb 6.

The charge under section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act carries a maximum RM5,000 fine or three years jail, or both, on conviction.

Azman said the prosecution’s contention that Karpal Singh should not have made such a statement which covered legal issues which were difficult to be understood by reporters covering the function did not hold water because it gave the impression that if the statement was really understood, it would not tantamount to sedition.

He said the lawyer had given his opinion and referred to provisions of the Perak constitution and legal authorities which were supplied to the reporters.

The judge was of the opinion that the video and transcript of the press release did not show any seditious statement by Karpal Singh who had only said: “But I’ll make it clear, I got nothing personal in this matter, this is a constitutional matter and I think should be respected by all, including the Ruler.”

After the judgment was delivered, Karpal Singh’s family and DAP leaders clapped and congratulated him.

The DAP chairman told reporters that he was happy with the judgment and stressed that his statement did not violate the law and he was only expressing his legal views.

Deputy public prosecutor Noreen Badaruddin said she would seek instruction from the Attorney-General’s Chambers on whether of not to appeal the decision. — Bernama

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