Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tian Chua freed of sedition charge again

The High Court today affirmed the acquittal of Batu MP Chua Tian Chang of making a seditious statement linking the government and Umno in the Lahad Datu intrusion in 2013. Judicial commissioner Datuk Nordin Hassan, who dismissed the prosecution's appeal, said they had failed to prove that Chua, better known as Tian Chua, had uttered the seditious words. Chua's first acquittal was on November 14, 2014 by Sessions Court judge Norsharidah Awang, who said the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the PKR parliamentarian. She acquitted him without calling for his defence. Nordin said the prosecution's main witness, Siti Nooraishah Geoffrey, a former Keadilan Daily reporter, had nothing to corroborate her evidence. The judge said Nooraishah's notes were not legible and that no other documents were tendered to support her evidence. Norsharidah said the prosecution was only referring to an article written by the reporter based on a telephone interview. "It is unfair to attribute that article to the accused because he was not the maker of the report," she said. Norsharidah said the reporter's notes of the interview were not verbatim when she spoke to Tian Chua. "The reporter only took down key points. What was published also did not fully reflect the interview with the accused," she said, adding that this was not corroborative evidence to implicate him in the charge. Tian Chua, who is also PKR vice-president, was charged in 2013 with making a statement that the militant intrusion in Lahad Datu, Sabah, was a planned conspiracy by Umno to divert attention and frighten the people. He was alleged to have committed the offence at Fraser Business Park, Jalan Metro Pudu, off Jalan Yew in Kuala Lumpur, about 11am on March 1, 2013. The prosecution had called three witnesses, reporter Nooraishah, former Johor Baru Umno Youth vice-head Syed Amirrudin Syed Jaffar, who lodged a complaint over the article, and investigating officer Assistant Superintendent Airy Zaidi Nordin. Outside the court, a relieved Chua, who was represented by N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya, said there had been some 500 police reports lodged by "those aligned to Umno" to pressure the investigation and prosecution of his case. He also claimed that there was "deliberate manipulation" by the ruling party to defame him as Barisan Nasional MPs continued to accuse him even after his first acquittal in 2014. "Following today's decision by the High Court, I hope there will be no more wild accusations that I have insulted or undermined national security." – March 2, 2016.]]>

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