Sessions court to decide on hearing of Raja Petra’s case on Friday

The Sessions Court here will decide on Friday whether or not it has the discretion to hear blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s defamation case.

Judge Mohamad Sekeri Mamat deferred decision after hearing submissions from both parties today.

The trial was fixed for this week but Raja Petra’s counsel, Manjeet Singh Dhillon, made a preliminary objection yesterday asking the court to send the case back to the Magistrate’s Court for trial on the grounds that the magistrate’s order was illegal, void and contrary to the law.

On Aug 15, magistrate Nazran Mohd Sham allowed the prosecution’s application to transfer the case to the Sessions Court on the ground that it involved public interest.

Raja Petra, the Malaysia Today editor, is alleged to have defamed the deputy prime minister’s wife, Datin Rosmah Mansor, acting colonel Abdul Aziz Buyong and his wife, Colonel Norhayati Hassan, in his statutory declaration made at the Civil High Court in Jalan Duta here at 10.25am on June 18.
If convicted, he faces up to two years in jail or a fine, or both, on each charge under Section 500 of the Penal Code.

Manjeet Singh informed the court today that he had filed a notice of motion, supported with Raja Petra’s affidavit, to the High Court seeking an order to transfer the case back to the Magistrate’s Court or to refer it to the Federal Court on the constitutional issue.

However, deputy public prosecutor Anselm Charles Fernandis said the defence application had no effect as the High Court on Sept 11 stated in a letter that the magistrate’s order to transfer the case to the Sessions Court was right according to law principles.

The decision in the letter from Justice Suraya Othman was in response to the defence application for a revision of the magistrate’s order, he said.

He cited two cases decided by the Federal Court that under Article 145 of the Federal Constitution, the Attorney-General had vested power to choose any court to initiate proceedings against a person.

This, coupled with the High Court decision, showed that the Sessions Court had the discretion to hear Raja Petra’s case, Fernandis added. — BERNAMA

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