PUTRAJAYA: Former Batu Kawan Umno deputy head Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and lawyer Matthias Chang remain out on bail after the Court of Appeal ruled that their charge is not a security offence.
Khairuddin and Chang are facing trial on the charge of attempting to sabotage the country’s banking and financial services under Section 124L of the Penal Code.
Justice Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who led the three-man panel, said the charge was not a security offence and that procedures under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) did not apply.
Parliament, she added, could not have intended for the charge faced by the two men to be a security offence to invoke Sosma.
The panel then unanimously dismissed the prosecution’s appeal against a Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision last year to release the men on bail.
Also on the panel were Justices Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi and Datuk Kamardin Hashim.
Procedures under Sosma allow for an accused to be denied bail and detained pending disposal of the trial.
Khairuddin and Chang were jointly charged with attempting to sabotage Malaysia’s banking and financial services at five locations between June 28 and Aug 26 last year.
The locations are the office of the France Economic and Financial Crimes Division chief in Paris, Charing Cross police station in London, the office of the Switzerland Attorney-General in Bern, Wai Chan police station in Hongkong and the Cantonment police headquarters in Singapore. They face a jail term of up to 15 years.
On Nov 18 last year, the High Court had granted bail after ruling that the charge was not a security offence and it did not fall under Sosma.
Yesterday, Khairuddin’s lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla told reporters that the matter was fixed for mention in the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur today.
Chang’s counsel Zainur Zakaria said the Court of Appeal ruling affirmed the High Court’s decision that only procedures under the Evidence Act and Criminal Procedure Code would apply for the offence faced by the men.
Deputy public prosecutor Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud told reporters that he would brief his superiors on whether to bring the matter to the Federal Court.
Lawyer Tommy Thomas held a watching brief on behalf of the Malaysian Bar. — Bernama