Jamal fails in bid to call IGP as witness in defamation suit

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KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has ruled that Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun need not appear as defence witness for Red Shirts leader Jamal Yunos, who is facing a defamation suit brought by Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah.

Government lawyer Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh said Justice Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab held that Fuzi, the then-Special Branch chief, had no knowledge that Maria was being held under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) for 10 days from Nov 18 last year.

Zaki delivered his decision in chambers.

Maria’s defamation suit has now been fixed for trial on Jan 10.

During submission last week, Terrirudin said the government was objecting to Jamal’s summons as Fuzi was not a material and relevant witness.

He said Maria’s arrest and detention under Sosma had no relation to the Special Branch when Fuzi was its head.

Jamal’s lawyer V Mugunthan said Fuzi was a material witness as he could reveal why Maria was picked up by the police.

Fuzi was Special Branch director before his promotion as the nation’s top cop in September.

In her lawsuit, Maria claimed that Jamal had, on Sept 28 last year, falsely uttered slanderous words against Bersih during a press conference outside the Putra World Trade Centre.

She also claimed that on Oct 4 last year, Jamal had uttered similar slanderous words against Bersih during a media conference in the Bukit Aman police headquarters compound.

She said the media and news portals later published the statements.

In her statement of claim filed on Oct 7, 2016, Maria said she had been brought into public scandal and that her reputation and good name had been tarnished.

She is seeking damages, as well as an injunction to stop Jamal from uttering or publishing similar words, either verbally, in print, or online.

Jamal has informed the court that he intends to call former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former IGP Khalid Abu Bakar, Kuala Selangor OCPD Roslan Abdullah and Johor PKR chief Hassan Karim as witnesses.

He said these witnesses were expected to lend credence to his defence of fair comment and justification in response to Maria’s suit.