KUALA LUMPUR: The government is appealing yesterday’s Court of Appeal ruling upholding that the charge against 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) critics Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chang of sabotaging the nation’s banking and financial services, was not a security offence.
Khairuddin’s lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said this development had resulted in the Sessions Court staying proceedings pending the outcome of the appeal in the Federal Court.
“The government lawyer told the Sessions Court judge that an appeal would be filed this week. The court has fixed Feb 10 next year as mention date,” he said.
The government has 14 days to file the appeal.
Lawyers for Khairuddin, Matthias and the government appeared before Sessions Court judge Shamsuddin Abdullah today to inform the court of the Court of Appeal ruling.
The Court of Appeal’s upholding of last year’s High Court ruling means that Khairuddin and Matthias will remain free on bail.
A three-man bench, chaired by Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, said the charge under the Penal Code was not a security offence for the authorities to invoke the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).
“Parliament could not have intended the charge faced by the two to be a security offence to invoke Sosma,” she said of the unanimous ruling.
Khairuddin and Chang were jointly charged under Section 124L of the Penal Code following reports made against 1MDB with authorities in France, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
The offence carries a jail term of up to 15 years.
All security-related offences are heard in the High Court. Both men were denied bail.
The two then filed an application to be tried in the Sessions Court and asked for bail.
On Nov 18 last year, High Court judge Mohd Azman Husin found the sabotage charge was not a security offence and Sosma procedures did not apply.
The judge then granted them bail at RM10,000 each in a single surety pending the outcome of their trial in the Sessions Court.