PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal Wednesday upheld a High Court ruling in favour of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in his RM50mil defamation suit against Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd for publishing two articles on his comments to BBC during an interview on homosexuality laws.
The panel lead by Justice Zaharah Ibrahim found no merit in Utusan's appeal against the High Court's findings, and ordered they pay RM25,000 in costs.
"After going through the judgment and note of proceedings at the High Court, we also dismiss Umno's application to intervene in the appeal," said Justice Zaharah.
The panel, which also included Justices K. Ananthan and Mah Weng Kwai ordered, no costs to Umno over its application to intervene in the appeal as the then High Court judge V.T. Singham had remarked in his judgment that the party had exerted influence and control over Utusan Malaysia's editorial policy.
Lawyer Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin represented Utusan Melayu, and Utusan by Abu Bakar As Sidek, while Anwar was represented by R. Sivarasa.
On Jan 21 last year, Justice Singham ruled the words in the articles were defamatory and could bring down the Opposition leader's reputation and political standing by suggesting he would not make a suitable leader of the federal Government.
He ordered RM45,000 in costs to be paid by Utusan to Anwar. He also set Feb 15 for case management to assess the damages to be awarded.
Justice Singham said that nowhere in the BBC interview did Anwar say he promoted gay and lesbian rights.
Singham had since gone on early retirement.
On Jan 20, 2012, Anwar filed a defamation suit seeking RM50mil in damages, alleging that the defendants had published two articles on the front page and page 10 of the Utusan Malaysia newspaper, dated Jan 17, 2012, in relation to his BBC interview.
In his lawsuit, Anwar named Utusan Melayu and its editor-in-chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak as defendants.