Tamrin's trial on offensive posting against Johor royalty to be heard at JB Sessions Court

PUTRAJAYA: Former Batu Berendam MP Datuk Mohd Tamrin Abdul Ghafar's trial on a charge of making an offensive statement against the Johor royalty on his blog will be heard by the Johor Bahru Sessions Court.

This was after Mohd Tamrin, who is the son of former deputy prime minister, the late Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba, lost his appeal in the Court of Appeal on Monday (March 13) to get his case transferred to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.

The Court of Appeal's three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk P. Ravinthran, Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Datuk Azman Abdullah dismissed his appeal after ruling that the reasons given by Mohd Tamrin for the transfer that there could be a possibility of bias and interference, was without any merit.

"We agree with the High Court and Sessions Court that the grounds (given by Mohd Tamrin) to transfer (his case to the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur) is without any merit.

"One must not assume that a judicial officer will be biased in favour of the royalty. By the same token, it must not be assumed that there would be interference in this case and the course of justice would be subverted," said Justice Ravinthran who delivered the court's decision.

Justice Ravinthran also said the court disagreed with Mohd Tamrin's lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali's contention that the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur can hear any criminal cases from any part of Peninsular Malaysia following a case law authority in Public Prosecutor vs Abul Hassan Mohamed Rashid.

In that case, the Court of Appeal had ruled that the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur can try cases from any part of the peninsula as the Yang-di-Pertuan Agong has not limited the jurisdiction of the lower court in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur under the Subordinate Courts Act 1948.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Dusuki Mokhtar said that case law authority should not be applied to Mohd Tamrin's case as the circumstances of his case were different.

Mohd Tamrin's case is fixed for mention before the Johor Bahru Sessions Court on March 21.

Mohd Tamrin, 73, had claimed trial in the Sessions Court in Johor Bahru on March 10, 2021, to a charge of making an offensive statement against the Johor royalty through his blog "tamrintunghafar" which is linked to his Facebook page, at the Media RPO Services office in Jalan Persiaran Southkey 1, Kota Southkey, Johor Baru at about 7pm on Feb 2, 2020.

The blog post involved an article about the Crown Prince of Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim and the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.

The charge, under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, provides a fine not exceeding RM50,000, or imprisonment for up to a year, or both, if found guilty, and shall also be liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for every day during which the offence is continued after conviction.

Mohd Tamrin was released on RM8,000 bail with one surety.

He subsequently applied for his case to be transferred to the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur giving reasons, among others, that he would be prejudiced if his case is heard by the Sessions Court in Johor Bahru as it involved the Johor royalty.

On Sept 5, 2021, the Sessions Court in Johor Bahru dismissed his application to transfer his case to the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur and the Johor Bahru High Court also rejected his appeal on April 7, last year. – Bernama

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