Bersih 1.0: Court throws out appeal
PUTRAJAYA, July 18 — The Appeals Court here today threw out the appeal brought by sixteen people, including PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, Batu Member of Parliament Chua Tian Chang and Padang Serai Member of Parliament N. Gopalakrishnan, to overturn a High Court decision ordering them to enter their defence on charges of participating in the 2007 Bersih rally.
Justice Datuk K. N. Segara, chairing a three-member panel, struck out their appeal after allowing the prosecution’s preliminary objection that they did not have the right to appeal as the matter was interlocutory in nature and, hence, not appealable.
Following this decision, Mohamad Sabu (better known as Mat Sabu, picture), Chua (better known as Tian Chua), Gobalakrishnan, Mohd Salim Yeslam, Ahmad Razali Abd Rahman, Razali Abdul, Muhd Harith Fatillah Shahabudin, Saleh Mohamad Tahir, Azahar Yusop, Sulaiman Ahmad, Taib Abdullah, Mohd Abi Salam Ariffin, Ishak Othman and Mohd Zad Abdullah and two juveniles, will have to make their defence in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.
Their case is scheduled for mention at the Sessions Court on August 29.
Justice Segara, who presided on the panel with Datuk Azhar Ma’ah and Datuk Lim Yee Lan, held that they were bound by the Federal Court’s decision in Public Prosecutor vs Letchumanan Suppiah, which held that a decision made in the course of a trial where the rights of the person was not been fully disposed off was not appealable by virtue of Section 3 of the Courts of Judicature Act (CJA) 1964.
The panel also took note of the submission by lawyer Nasar Khan Mirbas Khan, representing 14 of the appellants, that Section 3 of the CJA was a bad law because the effect of that section meant that the prosecution could lodge an appeal with the Appeals Court against a court’s decision acquitting the appellants at the close of the prosecution’s case, but the appellants could not do the same if the court did not rule in their favour.
Justice Segara said the only recourse was to bring the matter to Parliament.
Lawyer Jason Tay represented Tian Chua and Gobalakrishnan.
The group were alleged to have participated in the unlawful assembly organised by Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih) at several places including the National Mosque compound, Jalan Istana Baru, Jalan Raja Laut and beside the Sogo department store in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman between 1pm and 4pm on November 10, 2007.
They were charged under Sections 143 and 145 of the Penal Code, with alternative charges under Section 27(4) (a) of the Police Act 1967.
The maximum jail sentence under Section 143, if convicted, is six months or a fine or both. Under Section 145, the jail sentence is two years or fine or both. Section 27(5)(a) carries a RM10,000 fine and jail of not more than one year upon conviction.
The Sessions Court had on November 19, 2010 acquitted and discharged the 16 individuals at the close of the prosecution’s case without ordering them to make their defence but upon appeal by the prosecution, the High Court overturned that decision and ordered them to do so. — Bernama