KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and five others have been given a discharge not amounting to acquittal over their involvement in Bersih 3.0 rally last year.
Sessions Court judge Ahmad Bache ruled that the charges against the accused had become defective following the Court of Appeal ruling on Jan 6.
“I find if the discharge is not granted, the accused will be more prejudiced as the charges will be hanging over their heads whilst the prosecution has the liberty to recharge them later,” ruled Judge Ahmad.
He dismissed the prosecution’s application for stay of proceedings, saying the application should have been made to the Court of Appeal.
Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin later told reporters that they would be filing for a revision of the Session Court’s decision.
On Jan 6, the Court of Appeal set aside magistrate Zaki Asyraf Zubir's order prohibiting any assembly at Dataran Merdeka between April 28 and May 1, 2012.
The unanimous decision by a three-man panel led by Justice Linton Albert brought into question the validity of the charges against those alleged to be involved in the rally, as the magistrate’s order was an integral part of the charges.
The appeal was brought by PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali and Rembau PKR chief Badrul Hisham Shaharin, but was adopted by the other four accused's counsel during submissions on Thursday.
The prosecution has applied to the Federal Court to overturn this finding, and if successful, they would be allowed to bring charges against the six accused again.
Anwar, Azmin and Badrul were jointly accused on July 2 with abetting R. Tangam, G Rajesh Kumar and Farhan Ibrahim @ Alias to violate a magistrate's court order on April 26 by participating in a street protest.
On May 22, the three claimed trial to breaching a court order barring the public from entering Dataran Merdeka during the rally.
They were also accused of abetting and inciting Tangam, Rajesh Kumar and Farhan to breach the barricade around Dataran Merdeka and participating in a street protest with the intention of violating the court order.
All the offences were alleged to have been committed at Jalan Raja and Jalan Tun Perak between 2.30pm and 3pm on April 28 last year.