Ex-principal's appeal against High Court decision which found him liable for defaming Husam dismissed

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): The Court of Appeal has affirmed a High Court's decision which found a former religious school principal in Kelantan liable for defaming former Parti Amanah Negara vice-president Datuk Husam Musa on Facebook.

A three-man panel comprising Datuk Suraya Othman, Datuk Indera Mohd Sofian Abd Razak and Datuk Lee Heng Cheong dismissed Masri Che Yusoff's appeal on liability with costs of RM15,000.

"We are of the view that the learned judge (High Court judge) was not plainly wrong in his findings and decision.

"Accordingly, we find no merits in the appeal and we dismissed the appeal with costs,” said Justice Suraya who chaired the panel.

In the court's decision, Justice Suraya said the High Court judge had made a finding that the statements were defamatory.

She said in his grounds of judgment, the High Court judge stated that the statements meant that Husam had a personal interest in three lots of land and had committed misappropriation, breach of trust of his position as Kelantan state executive council member by acquiring the land for his personal interest.

In June 2018, the High Court in Kota Bharu allowed Husam's claim against Masri, who was also a former member of the Dewan Ulama of Kelantan PAS, and ordered for damages to be assessed by the deputy registrar.

Husam filed the defamation suit against Masri on Oct 27, 2015.

In November 2019, the deputy registrar awarded RM50,000 in damages to Husam but Husam appealed to the High Court which had in February this year increased the sum to RM150,000.

Masri's appeal hearing on Wednesday (Sept 22) was against the High Court's decision on liability.

Justice Suraya said since Masri did not file the appeal on the quantum of damages, the sum of RM150,000 remains.

When contacted, lawyer Yusfarizal Yussoff, who represented Masri said he would seek his client's instruction on whether to bring the matter to the Federal Court. - Bernama

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