KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here ordered local actress Zahida Mohamed Rafik (pic) to pay her former driver RM150,000 in damages, after ruling the actress had defamed him.
Justice Hue Siew Kheng said on Thursday that Zahida's statements in a Malay tabloid - that Noor Azman Azemi supposedly took RM200,000 of her money - amounted to libel.
She added that Zahida's defence of ancillary privilege and justification failed as her witnesses and some of the evidence tendered were not credible.
The court awarded Noor Azman RM150,000 in damages and RM40,000 in costs.
Justice Hue Siew also dismissed Zahida's counter claim for the return of RM200,000 allegedly taken by the driver.
The Judge dismissed an application by Zahida's lawyer Sarah Abishegam to stay execution of the order.
Noor Azman had filed the suit against Zahida on Nov 27, 2013, over an article titled "Zahida Rafik Terkedu", where she accused him of running away with the RM200,000 after he was ordered to deposit it in her bank account.
In the statement of claim, Noor Azman said he was remanded by the police for four days after Zahida lodged a report against him on the loss.
He said he lost his job as a driver, and has since worked as a taxi driver.
Noor Azman was charged in the Ampang Sessions Court last year with misappropriating RM200,000 even while his civil case was ongoing.
Speaking to reporters after the decision Thursday, he hoped the decision in criminal court would similarly favour him, now the civil matter was resolved.
Trial is set to start on March 23.