Tuesday, March 16, 2010

'Clueless witnesses' in Karpal's sedition trial

Two witnesses in the sedition trial against senior lawyer Karpal Singh admitted in court today that they are unaware of a constitutional provision that allows for action to be taken against any Malay ruler under specific circumstances.

karpal singh and jalan duta court houseTokong Umno Youth chief Jefri Salim and Gagasan Melayu Perak president Mohd Helmy Ismail had lodged separate police reports against Karpal (left), the Bukit Gelugor MP, for making a remark that they deemed to be seditious.

Replying to DPP Noorin Badaruddin and DPP Azlina Rasid, they agreed that their reports were lodged after watching a TV3 news bulletin featuring Karpal's intention to take action against the Perak sultan for appointing Zambry Abd Kadir as the Perak menteri besar.

Jefri, 33, told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that he lodged the report in his personal capacity, while Mohd Helmy - a retiree who had previously worked for Petronas, Bank Bumiputera and Ayer Molek Bhd - said he made the police report the same night after watching the news.

malaysian law conference 291007 sultan azlan shah 1“As a person who was born and brought up in Perak, I felt it was my responsibility to lodge the report. I found it demeaning (to Sultan Azlan Shah, right) when Karpal said he wanted to take action over the sultan's decision,” said Mohd Helmy, 67.

Similarly, Jefri said he lodged the report in Penang because he felt Karpal's words were an insult to the institution of the royalty and to Malays.

Both said they were upset with Karpal for challenging the Perak sultan's authority in appointing the menteri besar.

'Provision in constitution'

Karpal conducted the cross-examination himself, asking each witness if he was aware of Article 160 of the federal constitution.

Both replied in the negative but, under further questioning, agreed that action could be taken against a Ruler if the constitution allows for this.

Karpal Singh, 69, is charged with making a seditious statement against the Perak sultan at a news conference at his office at Messrs Karpal Singh & Co in Jalan Pudu Lama in Kuala Lumpur between noon and 12.30pm on Feb 6, 2009.

Karpal initially objected to the testimony of the two witnesses, saying this was based on a TV3 report and could be deemed as hearsay.

However, judicial commissioner Azman Abdullah dismissed the objection.

Azman also dismissed Karpal's objection to admit two video clips of the news bulletin, as well as to the admissability of two photographs.

'Situation in Kuala Kangsar chaotic'

Kuala Kangsar OCPD Abdul Ghafar Muhamad told the court that the situation before Zambry's oath-taking ceremony in Kuala Kangsar had been chaotic on the afternoon of Feb 6, 2009.

He said there were more then the usual number of people at the Ubudiah mosque during Friday prayers.

perak bn takeover protest mosque tear gas attack incident kuala  kangsar rally 060209 31Abdul Ghafar, who has been the Kuala Kangsar OCPD since 2008, said people were lying on the street to prevent the vehicles of Raja di Hilir Raja Jaafar and Raja Muda Perak Raja Nazrin Shah from reaching the Iskandariah palace.

“50 personnel from the Public Order Reserve Unit were directed to move the crowd blocking the roads leading to the palace. I gave a warning from the top of a Federal Reserve Unit vehicle, for the people to disperse.

“I shouted four times for the crowd to disperse before we decided to move in."

Another witness had said nine people had been arrested for unlawful assembly.

Describing the situation as tense, Abdul Ghafar said the protest was due to public dissatisfaction with Zambry's appointment as menteri besar.

He added that Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, was the previous menteri besar.

Hearing continues tomorrow with Karpal to cross-examine Abdul Ghaffar.

Karpal's sons Gobind Singh Deo and Jagdeep Singh Deo and daughter Sangeet Kaur are also in his legal team.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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