PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has struck out a civil defamation suit by Hindraf leader and legal adviser P. Uthayakumar against the Attorney-General, former Inspector-General of Police and the Government.
The three-member bench made the majority decision on the grounds that several alleged defamatory news articles on Dec 7, 2007 quoting former IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail did not name Uthayakumar as having links to Sri Lankan terrorist organisation the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Uthayakumar and four others were arrested under the ISA on suspicion of having links to LTTE after they led a mass protest on Nov 25, 2007, in Kuala Lumpur.
Lead Court of Appeal judge Datuk K.N. Segara said there was “no reasonable cause of action by the plaintiff” as the articles had only named Hindraf and not Uthayakumar and the four others detained under the ISA for more than a year over their alleged links to LTTE.
He added that Hindraf had been outlawed after the 2007 protest and had no locus standi to file such a civil suit.
The sole dissension came from Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus who said the “plaintiff should be given the opportunity to have his day in the High Court.”
“This is obviously and plainly sustainable,” he said, adding that a news article published on Dec 15, 2007, had indeed quoted Musa as alleging that Uthayakumar and the other four had links to LTTE.
The third member of the bench Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim agreed with Segara.
The dismissal was announced with RM20,000 in costs to the plaintiffs.
The defendants brought the case to the Court of Appeal after the KL High Court rejected their application to strike out the suit on April 8, 2009.
Uthayakumar’s lawyer M. Manoharan, who was one of the four ISA detainees together with Uthayakumar, said he would appeal the decision at the Federal Court.