Rewcastle-Brown’s statements in 1MDB book disrespectful to royal institution, court heard

KUALA LUMPUR: Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown's defamatory statements about the Terengganu Sultanah in her book on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) were disrespectful to the royal institution in this country, the court said.

Kuala Terengganu Magistrate Nik Mohd Tarmizie Nik Mohd Shukri said that Rewcastle-Brown's action created a negative perception of Sultanah Nur Zahirah, and damaged her good name as well as reputation.

The magistrate said this in his written judgment dated June 2.

Rewcastle-Brown was found guilty of defaming Sultanah Nur Zahirah in her book, ‘The Sarawak Report – The Inside Story of the 1MDB Exposé' on Feb 7 in a trial conducted in absentia under Section 425A of the Criminal Procedure Code.

“After considering the testimonies provided by the prosecution witnesses, the court is convinced that the slanderous remarks directed at the Sultanah of Terengganu constitute defamation that could tarnish her reputation and good name.

“The slanderous remarks directly implicated the involvement of the Sultanah of Terengganu with fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low who is suspected of being involved in the 1MDB scandal.

“This indirectly tarnishes the reputation of the Sultanah of Terengganu in the country's largest scandal," Magistrate Nik Mohd Tarmizie said in the written judgment.

The magistrate also said the defendant’s failure to respect the legal system of this country by choosing to waive her right to attend the trial was also taken into consideration by the court in imposing the maximum sentence.

UK-based Rewcastle-Brown was charged in absentia back in September 2021 at the Kuala Terengganu Magistrate's Court for 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 accused of criminally defaming Sultanah Nur Zahirah in a book titled ‘The Sarawak Report - The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose’.

She allegedly committed the offence at Lot 60048, Taman Chendering Utama at 8am on Sept 14, 2018.

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