KUCHING: A legal team led by Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How (pic) will seek a review of the proceedings of a case involving a man who was jailed 10 years and fined RM50,000 for insulting Islam on Facebook.
He said this was to ensure that the proceedings and legality of the Kuching Sessions Court’s decision on the case were properly carried out.
He said the legal team, which included lawyers Francis Teron, Desmond Kho and Jeffery Mok, would present an account of the mental state of Alister Cogia.
Alister, 22, pleaded guilty before Sessions Court judge Jason Juga on Friday to uploading offensive materials on Islam and Prophet Muhammad on social media.
“It is our principle not to support or tolerate any insult or abuse towards any religion in our country.
“In this case, the family sought our help, saying that Alister is suffering from behavioural difficulties and requires psychiatric advice and therapy,” See said here yesterday.
He said the legal team was told by Alister’s mother that the family was denied the chance to meet him while he was under remand.
“He was also not told that he would appear in court last Friday which caused him to be unrepresented.
“There is doubt whether Alister understood the gravity of the charges and the significance of his guilty plea,” he added.
See said the legal team wanted the case to be recalled and would ask the court to seek the opinion of a psychiatrist to ensure that there was no failure of justice in the conviction and sentence of Alister.
“At this moment, we can only say that he has behavioural difficulties which need psychiatric examination and advice,” he said.
Alister’s mother, Alen Rigod claimed that her son was suffering from mental illness since young.
The second of a family of five children, she said Alister had refused to continue schooling when he was in Form One.
“He likes to lock himself up in his room and at times would shout when he was alone,” she said.
Alen claimed that two weeks ago, Alister was detained by the police for allegedly posting a similar comment on his Facebook account.
“He was released without being charged then. The police came back for him the second time on March 3. We were unsure what he did in his room or online. But we found out later that he has multiple Facebook accounts where he had posted some weird comments,” she said.
Alen said Alister was sent to the Sentosa Hospital last month for a psychiatric examination.
“We were told to bring him to Kuching general hospital for examination first and obtain a referral for further examination at Sentosa Hospital.
“However, we could not do so as he became agitated and refused to go to Bau Hospital for that,” she said.
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