Ex-CLP director’s leave to appeal defamation suit dismissed

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PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court here has dismissed former Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) examination director Khalid Yusoff’s application for leave to appeal in a defamation lawsuit against the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) and two others.

A three-man panel led by Federal Court judge Suriyadi Halim Omar, in a unanimous decision today, ruled that Khalid failed to comply with the threshold requirement under Section 96 (a) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.

He also ordered Khalid to pay costs of RM10,000 each to Bernama and the other two respondents, namely the News Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP) and online news portal Insight News Sdn Bhd.

Also presiding on the panel were Justices Aziah Ali and Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha.

Khalid’s lawyer, Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, requested the court to grant leave to appeal and sought the Federal Court to determine two questions of law.

Khalid filed the lawsuit on July 5, 2013, claiming that Bernama had defamed him through an article titled “Court upholds jail term on former CLP director” published on April 20, 2009.

Khalid, now a lawyer, said the article was republished by NSTP in its newspaper, New Straits Times, on April 21, 2009, while Insight News carried the article on its online news portal on April 20 of that year.

In his statement of claim, he had stated that the libellous words were false, unfounded and published with malice and the publication injured his character, honour and personal reputation as an academician and lawyer.

He lost his case at the High Court and Court of Appeal, prompting him to seek leave to appeal to the Federal Court.

On May 27, 2010, he was freed by the Court of Appeal on two charges of allegedly cheating and falsifying the results of the CLP examination after the court allowed his appeal to set aside the conviction and jail sentence imposed on him by the Sessions Court.

Outside the court, Bernama’s lawyer Bhag Singh said the Federal Court’s decision signalled the end of the matter on the defamation suit, in so far as the appeal was concerned.

Bernama was also represented by lawyer Ammar Ghalip while Rueben Mathiavaranam and G. Navinthar appeared for NSTP. Daryl Khor Tet Woei represented Insight News.