Despite Court of Appeal ruling, Shariah court keeps Ezra Zaid’s case alive

Kenneth Tee
Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid speaks with his lawyer Zulkifli Che Yong at the Petaling Jaya District Syariah Subordination Court October 17, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PETALING JAYA, Oct 17 — A Shariah Subordinate Court granted today Sharie prosecutors’ application to defer Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid's ongoing trial to next month, despite the civil Court of Appeal’s decision for the charges to be terminated.

Sharie prosecutor Fairus Jaafar informed the court that he has yet to receive further instructions from the Selangor’s chief Syarie prosecutor following the superior court's decision last month.

He said the case may be appealed to the Federal Court and, therefore, required the sought postponement to allow further instructions to be made.

Fairus then asked for a postponement of two months time until the next case mention to update the court on the prosecution's next course of action, prompting Mohd Ezra's lawyer, Zulkifli Che Yong, to object.

“It is extremely unwise. What the prosecutor is doing is not legal as the appellate court already quashed the charges,” he argued before saying he would accept a week's deferral.

Zulkifli also produced a draft copy of the appellate court's order dated September 25 in court, adding that a copy was also submitted to the prosecution yesterday.

In allowing the application, Petaling Jaya Shariah Subordinate Court judge Syukran Mohd Yusuf said while the court respected the appellate court's order, the copy submitted was still technically a draft and not verified by the Registrar Office of the Court of Appeal.

Syukran then fixed November 14 for case mention.

On September 25, the Court of Appeal nullified the Shariah charges filed against Mohd Ezra relating to the publication of the Bahasa Malaysia translation of Allah, Liberty and Love by Canadian writer Irshad Manji.

His appeal comprised 10 points, with requests including the return of the 180 seized books, the delay of his Shariah court trial and for the court to nullify the related raid by religious enforcers and for it to be deemed unlawful.

Among the points argued by his lawyers was the fact that Ezra was charged under the Islamic criminal code for a wrongdoing that should have been pinned on his company, ZI Publications Sdn Bhd.

In March last year, the High Court dismissed Ezra’s challenge against the constitutionality of his charges in the Shariah courts.

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