Court rejects lawyer’s request to proceed with appeal despite sedition charge withdrawn

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal yesterday rejected a lawyer’s request for his appeal to proceed despite of the sedition charge against him had been withdrawn.

Justice Datuk Dr Badariah Sahamid who chaired a three-man bench, in a unanimous decision, struck out the appeal after ruling that any decision on the matter was academic since the charge had been withdrawn against N Surendran.

She said the charge was withdrawn against Surendran on Aug 27 this year and that he was acquitted and discharged.

“We are of the opinion that any decision on this matter is academic,” said Dr Badariah who presided with Justices Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal.

Deputy public prosecutor Jasmee Hameeza Jaafar told the court that the prosecution withdrew the sedition charge against Surendran last Aug 27 and the Sessions Court has discharged and acquitted Surendran.

Lawyer Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram informed the court that he was requested by Surendran’s counsel Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar to handle the matter yesterday as the latter was abroad.

He said Dr Gurdial wanted to address the court as he felt there was a live issue to argue.

Sri Ram requested the court not to strike out the appeal but instead to hear the matter, adding that withdrawing of the charge should not preclude the case from being argued.

Earlier, counsel Latheefa Koya, who is also representing Surendran, sought the court to give a ruling to declare the charge was wrong as the section in which her client was charged had been repealed.

She said although the court had acquitted Surendran, the matter was not academic as it involved public interest due to the fact that the charge was an interference of the duty of a lawyer and the prosecution had continued with the case despite the fact that it was no longer an offence to criticise the administration of justice after the Sedition Act was amended in 2015.

Surendran was one of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s counsel in the second sodomy case.

He was charged at the Sessions Court with uttering seditious remarks relating to Anwar’s second sodomy case at the Palace of Justice here between 2pm and 4pm on Aug 8, 2014.

The remarks were allegedly video-recorded and uploaded on YouTube.

Surendran was appealing against a High Court’s dismissal of his application to strike out the charge. — Bernama

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