Jurisdiction to hear bid to remove journalist as witness an issue, says prosecution


KUALA LUMPUR: The criminal court has no jurisdiction to hear a journalist's bid to remove herself as a witness, says prosecution.

They raised a preliminary objection against an application by The Star's journalist S. Tarshini to be released from testifying in the terrorism trial of Yazid Sufaat and Muhammad Hilmi Hasim.

Head of prosecution Yusof Ishak submitted that the application did not use proper entitlement (phrasing) and was inaccurate in how it argued the matter.

He added that due to the error, the criminal high court conducting the trial had no jurisdiction to hear the application to set aside the subpoena on Tarshini.

Her lawyer Syahredzan Johan replied that the court had inherent jurisdiction as it was a criminal application, and that the prosecution's objection was merely on technical grounds.

The application also sought to expunge the reporter's testimony, where she was asked to reveal her source in a news report titled "Ex-militant: We send new recruits straight to the frontlines", that she had written on Oct 29, 2012.

However, prosecutor Yusof said that point was academic as the witness had already started to testify, and such applications should be made before testifying.

High Court judge Datuk Mohd Azman Husin fixed next Monday to hear the defence's further submissions against the preliminary objection.

Judge Mohd Azman ordered the trial to continue with the prosecution's other witnesses first.

On April 29, Tarshini filed the application based on the grounds that her testimony was not relevant to the case and that revealing her sources would be a breach of journalism ethics.

Tarshini is the sixth prosecution witness in the case of Yazid and Muhammad Hilmi, who were on trial for promoting acts of terrorism in Syria, which in turn threatened public safety there.

The duo face a second charge for being members of terrorist organisation Tanzim Al-Qaeda Malaysia.

The alledged offences occured at Yazid's house in Ampang between August and October, in 2012.

The first charge under Section 130G(a) of the Penal Code is punishable by up to 30 years prison and a fine, while the second charged under Section 130KA carries a life sentence, upon conviction.

Yazid had been detained under the ISA in December 2001 for alleged ties to the Jemaah Islamiyah terror network but was released in 2008.

Courts , Crime , Journalist , S Tarshini , Jurisdiction , Witness