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Thursday, February 16, 2017

March 31 decision whether Mat Sabu's acquittal for criminal defamation stands



The Penang High Court has fixed March 31 to decide on the prosecution’s appeal against Mohamed Sabu, who was acquitted of criminal defamation against several policemen and their families over a communist attack at the Bukit Kepong police station in 1950, according to news agency Bernama.
On July 8, 2015, the Butterworth Session Courts acquitted Mat Sabu of the charges after finding the prosecution did not provide a prima facie case against Mat Sabu.
According to Bernama, Penang High Court judge Lim Chong Fong fixed March 31 for decision after hearing arguments from Penang Prosecution Unit chief Razali Che Ani and defence lawyers representing Mohamed, better known as Mat Sabu.
Mat Sabu, 62, was represented by lawyers Aminuddin Zulkipli and Mohamed Hanipa Maidin.
Razali reportedly argued that the Butterworth Sessions Court which decided to drop the charges against Mat Sabu did not thoroughly evaluate the testimony of prosecution witnesses.
He reportedly claimed that the judge had swayed from the point of law and facts when deciding that the elements of the charge against Mat Sabu was only based on the prosecution’s seventh witness, and not on the entire testimonies presented in court.
Mat Sabu was charged when he was PAS deputy president. He is currently the president of Parti Amanah Negara, a PAS splinter group.
Razali purportedly said the judge erred when deciding there was no element of slander by Mat Sabu as the decision was based on two different views presented by two historical experts.
The court should decide whether Mat Sabu’s statement was slander according to Section 500 of the Penal Code, Razali reportedly said.
In his counter argument, Aminuddin supposedly said the Butterworth Session Court judge had carried out a maximum evaluation based on the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses.
He reportedly added that the Court found that the prosecution did not provide “direct” witnesses as they were not present at the ceramah, where Mat Sabu was supposed to have uttered the remark.
Instead, they had just read the purported ‘slanderous” remark and knew about it through reports published in TV3 and Utusan Malaysia, Bernama reported.
The prosecution filed an appeal at the High Court on July 9, 2015, a day after the Butterworth Sessions Court acquitted Mat Sabu of the charges.
Butterworth Sessions Court judge Meor Sulaiman Ahmad Tarmizi made the decision after finding the prosecution had failed to present a prima facie case against Mat Sabu.
Mat Sabu was accused of slandering the police and their families who defended themselves against the communist attack in Bukit Kepong, Muar on Feb 23, 1950.
He was charged of uttering the slander in a PAS ceramah in Padang Menora, Tasek Gelugor on Aug 21, 2011.

Mat Sabu was accused of criminal defamation for slandering three policemen, marine constable Abu Bakar Daud, constables Jaafar Hassan and Yusoff Rono and their families on the same day in 2011.
He was also accused of supporting communism as he defended Mat Indera (Muhammad Ahmad Indera), a local Malay independence fighter, who was involved in the Bukit Kepong attack.
Section 500 of the Penal Code carries a two year jail sentence, and or fine or both, if convicted.- Mkini

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