Rewcastle-Brown will get a fair trial, no palace interference

Terengganu’s Sultanah Nur Zahirah (left) and Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has been told that Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown, who is facing a charge of defaming the Sultanah of Terengganu, Sultanah Nur Zahirah, will get a fair trial if the case is heard at the Kuala Terengganu Magistrate’s Court.

Deputy public prosecutor Noor Haslinda Che Seman said this was because throughout the prosecution process, there had been no interference from the (Terengganu) palace.

In fact, she said, the court officials appointed in the case would also carry out their duties in a just and fair manner, regardless of whether the case involved the palace or was simply a case of public interest.

“There was no conclusive evidence presented by the applicant (Rewcastle-Brown) showing that the Magistrate’s Court would act unfairly in the trial of the case.

“I believe the credibility of the trial judge should not be disputed as it will lead to contempt of court. I ask for the court to reject the applicant’s application,” she said in her submission against Rewcastle-Brown’s application to transfer the criminal case from Kuala Terengganu Magistrate’s Court to the High Court here, reported Bernama.

In September 2021, Rewcastle-Brown, who is from Britain, was charged in absentia at the Kuala Terengganu Magistrate’s Court with criminal defamation under Section 500 of the Penal Code which carries a jail term of up to two years or a fine or both, if convicted.

She was alleged to have defamed Sultanah Nur Zahirah in a book titled The Sarawak Report – The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose.

Meanwhile, lawyer Guok Ngek Seong, representing Rewcastle-Brown, said his client applied to transfer her case to the High Court here for fear of possible bias.

“The applicant is not questioning the integrity of the lower court, but she is probably worried about not getting a fair trial because the Magistrate’s Court is in the same state (Terengganu) and a police report was made against her by the (Terengganu) palace,” the lawyer said.

Judge K. Muniandy set June 21 to decide on the transfer application.

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