Appeals Court upholds High Court’s decision, dismisses Raja Ahmad’s appeal
PUTRAJAYA, June 18 — The Appeals Court here today upheld the decision of the Kota Baru High Court which had held Kubu Gajah state assemblyman (Perak) Datuk Seri Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar liable for defamation.
Appeals Court judge Datuk Wira Low Hop Bing said the court did not want to intervene in the appeal as there was no appealable error committed by the High Court.
“The appellant (Raja Ahmad), being the third defendant in the High Court, was held liable for his involvement in the publication and dissemination of the impugned article in Mingguan Watan which the trial judge found defamatory of the plaintiff (Kemajuan Iktisad Negeri Kelantan or PKINK).
“The issue in this appeal is whether the trial judge was correct in the said findings, said Justice Low who sat on a three-member panel with Justices Datuk Abdul Wahab Patail and Datuk Lim Yee Lan.
He said whether Raja Ahmad was involved in the publication and dissemination of the impugned article is a question of fact which is to be gathered from the evidence adduced at the trial.
Justice Low said contemporaneous document reveals that Raja Ahmad was the advisor of the editorial department.
In the document, the editorial department confirmed that the newspaper would not apologise because the report in the impugned article was accurate, actual and fulfilled the criteria of sensational news which potentially exposes irregularities in the equities if a subsidiary of PKINK.
The panel unanimously dismissed Raja Ahmad’s appeal.
On October 30 last year, the Kota Baru High Court allowed PKINK’s claim and held Raja Ahmad liable for the publication of a defamatory article published by Mingguan Watan in its December 2008 edition entitled “Siasat Pemimpin-Pemimpin PAS Kelantan Seleweng Ekuiti PKINK”.
Raja Ahmad was sued by PKINK in his capacity as advisor to the editorial department of Mingguan Watan.
The High Court has ordered that the damages be assessed by the deputy registrar which has yet to proceed.
In its civil suit, PKINK also named M. Goenawan Mohamed, Wan Bahador Wan Ismail @ Baha Azuwan, Naluri Teratai Sdn Bhd, Mingguan Watan and Tristan Media Distributors as defendants. — Bernama