Penang High Court maintains Mat Sabu’s defamation acquittal

By Opalyn Mok
Opposition politician Mohamad Sabu (centre) is seen at the Penang High Court today, March 31, 2017. ― Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, March 31 ― The Penang High Court today dismissed the prosecution's appeal against the acquittal of Opposition politician Mohamad Sabu from a criminal defamation charge.

High Court judge Lim Chong Fong, in reading out his decision, said the Sessions Court judge had correctly acquitted and discharged Mohamad of the offence.

“The Sessions Court judge correctly held that the prosecution did not prove the case and I am not satisfied with the evidence presented by the prosecution,” he said before dismissing the prosecution's appeal and maintaining Mohamad's acquittal.

Justice Lim contended that Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu, did not mention that the police were not heroes as alleged.

He also said the charges against Mohamad were based on articles published in Utusan Malaysia and not the full entirety of the speech.

“I find that Utusan has embellished and sensationalised the accused's speech in its article,” he said.

He is also of the view that the charges against Mohamad were defective in substance and that it did not disclose any offence.

Two years ago, on July 8, the Butterworth Sessions Court judge acquitted and discharged Mohamad of making a defamatory remark in August 2011.

He was charged with having defamed policemen and their families who defended themselves in the communist attack on the Bukit Kepong police station in Muar on February 23, 1950.

He allegedly committed the act in a speech at the Pusat Asuhan Tadika Islam (Pasti) Al Fahmi, Markas Tarbiyah PAS Padang Menora, Tasek Gelugor, on August 21, 2011.

He also faced an alternative charge of having defamed three policemen ― marine constable Abu Bakar Daud and constables Jaafar Hassan and Yusoff Rono ― and their families at the same time, date and place.

The prosecution filed an appeal to the Penang High Court against the lower court's decision.