Azmi Sharom applies for sedition case to be heard at High Court

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 29 Dec 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Malaya law lecturer Associate Prof Dr Azmi Sharom (pic) is applying to have his sedition trial heard in the High Court on grounds that it would be "better suited" to determine the matter.  

A new High Court judge is set to hear submissions by the parties over the case on Jan 5.  

Dr Azmi’s lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo said his client made the application because complex questions of law would arise in the course of the sedition trial.  

"We are of the view that the High Court would be better suited to hear and determine those questions of law.  

"Further, we are concern of the fact that if the trial is to commence in the Sessions Court, then Dr Azmi's ultimate right of appeal will end at the Court of Appeal," he told reporters after the parties met senior assistant registar Asfahani Hamzah in chambers Tuesday.  

Gobind said, "this is a case that ought to see its end at the Federal Court in the event any questions arise in respect of a judgment in reference, then the apex court in the end can put the matter to rest."  

Dr Azmi, 45, failed in his bid at a Federal Court in October to have the Sedition Act 1948 declared unconstitutional and had his case remitted to the Sessions Court for trial.  

Gobind said it would prejudice Dr Azmi if his case ends at the Court of Appeal.  

"This will not in any way be prejudicial to the prosecution, given the nature of this case, the Attorney-General himself can apply for the case to be heard at the High Court.

"The A-G did it in the case of the late Karpal Singh. It is not something out of the ordinary. The A-G has the power under Section 418 of the Criminal Procedure Code to transfer the case to the High Court directly for trial.  

"Dr Azmi will be raising certain defences at his trial which among others will touch on Section 3(2) of the Sedition Act," he added. 

DPP Nadiah Malek Fauzie appeared for the prosecution.  

On Sept 2, Dr Azmi claimed trial at a Sessions Court here to a charge of making allegedly seditious comments on an online portal concerning the 2009 Perak crisis.  

Dr Azmi, one of The Star’s columnists, was charged under Section 4(1)(b) and Section 4(1)(c) of the Act. 

An online English portal had published his comments in an article titled, "Take Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse, Perak told" on Aug 14.

The lecturer, who was released on a bail of RM5,000, was alleged to have uttered seditious words when he went to give a statement at the Kuala Lumpur police crime investigation department at about 12.30pm on Aug 15.

He faced an alternative charge of publishing the words at the same time and place.  

If convicted, under either the principal charge or alternative charge, Dr Azmi is liable to be fined up to a maximum of RM5,000 or a jail term of not more than three years, or both.  

The sedition case is set for a hearing on Jan 8 before Sessions Court judge Amernudin Ahmad.

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