KUALA LUMPUR: Former Batu Kawan Umno vice-chief Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and lawyer Matthias Chang Wen Chieh remained free from the charge of attempting to sabotage Malaysia's banking and financial system three years ago.
This followed a decision by the prosecution today to withdraw their appeal against a Session’s Court decision, made on May 12, 2017, in acquitting and discharging Khairuddin, 56, and Chang, 68, of the charge.
“The prosecution received instruction for the appeal against the two respondents to be withdrawn,” said deputy public prosecutor Noor Syazwani Mohamad Sobry when the matter came up for mention before High Court judge Datuk Azman Abdullah.
Following which, Azman dismissed the prosecution’s appeal and upheld the acquittal and discharge of Khairuddin and Chang, both represented by lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla.
On May 12 last year, Sessions Court judge Wan Mohd Norisham Wan Yaakob acquitted and discharged Khairuddin and Chang of the charge after the prosecution informed the court that it would not be pursuing the case.
The prosecution had proposed that the two accused be granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal, but the defence submitted that the duo should be granted a full acquittal in the interest of justice and fairness.
Judge Wan Mohd Norisham, in his decision, said the court concurred with the defence and further ordered for the duo’s respective bail to be refunded and their passports returned.
On Oct 12, 2015, Khairuddin and Chang were jointly charged with attempting to sabotage Malaysia's banking and financial services at five locations between June 28 and Aug 26, the same year, under Section 124L of the Penal Code which carries a jail term of up to 15 years on conviction.
They were accused of committing the offences at the office of the France Economic and Financial Crimes Division chief in Paris; Charing Cross police station, London, United Kingdom; office of the Switzerland Attorney-General in Bern; Wai Chan police station, Hongkong; and Cantonment police headquarters, Singapore.
They filed a notice of motion to the High Court seeking among others, an order that the charge against them did not fall under under the Security Offences (Special Measures) (Sosma) Act 2012 which is non-bailable, and to be granted bail.
On Nov 18, 2015, the High Court allowed their application, ruling that the charge they were facing was not under Sosma and ordered the case to be heard by the Sessions Court.
Both were subsequently released on RM10,000 bail with one surety, each. — Bernama © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd