Teacher told to enter defence over leakage of UPSR papers

Subbarau-left-kindergarten-and-gobind-after-the-COA-ruling-3

PUTRAJAYA: A teacher who has been charged with having classified public examination papers on his mobile phone will enter his defence at the Seremban Sessions Court next week.

This follows today’s Court of Appeal ruling which dismissed Subbarau Kamalanathan’s review application to set aside the decision of another bench on May 25.

A three-man bench chaired by Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said Subbarau had failed to fulfil the requirements under law for his application to be allowed.

“We are not satisfied that the threshold for review had been met,” she said.

However, she said Subbarau’s lawyers could raise all possible defences available to secure his acquittal.

The trial continues on Oct 13.

Earlier today, lead counsel Gobind Singh submitted that the majority Court of Appeal ruling restricted the trial judge to consider one defence: whether a former senior examination board officer had the authority to classify documents under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972.

“The decision of the (majority) Court of Appeal cannot be sustained as it did not consider in full the submissions by Subbarau’s lawyers in response to the government’s appeal,” he said.

Gobind, who was assisted by M Kulasegaran, said the Sessions Court had relied on several grounds to acquit Subbarau.

Subbarau-left-kindergarten-and-gobind-after-the-COA-ruling-1He said there had also been a miscarriage of justice when the majority ruling stated that the teacher should enter defence on one issue.

“This will handicap the trial judge from considering other defences that could be put forward to get an acquittal at the close of the defence’s case,” Gobind said.

Government lawyer Wan Shahrudin Wan Ladin said the decision to order the teacher to enter defence was not a final order.

“He was only told to answer the charge, and can raise all defences available,” he said, adding that the review application was a disguise to reopen the case.

He said Subbarau’s lawyers were merely speculating that their defence would be on narrow ground as the Court of Appeal had ruled that the teacher could raise one issue.

The Sessions Court last year acquitted Subbarau in a decision affirmed by the High Court.

However, in May, the Court of Appeal in a 2-1 ruling ordered Subbarau to enter defence on grounds that the prosecution had established a prima facie case.

Subbarau was slapped with five charges involving his alleged possession of UPSR examination papers for Mathematics 1 and 2, Bahasa Tamil (comprehension and writing) and Science.

He allegedly committed the offences between Sept 8 and 16, 2014, when the examination was in progress.

If convicted under the OSA, he risks a jail term of between one and seven years.