Court denies Sivarasa’s bid to postpone internet abuse trial

Subang MP R Sivarasa had posted a doctored Time magazine cover on his Facebook account but removed it after he realised it was a fake.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has dismissed former Subang MP R Sivarasa’s appeal to postpone his trial on a charge of abusing the internet.

Sivarasa had applied for a stay pending a decision by the Federal Court on whether a provision in the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) violates freedom of speech.

Justice Mohd Sofian Abd Razak ruled that there were no special circumstances to grant a stay in the case.

The Sessions Court had earlier fixed the trial for three days from June 26.

On Jan 24, Sofian had also thrown out Sivarasa’s application for the High Court to refer several legal questions to the apex court to decide if Section 233 of the CMA breached Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

“There is no merit in the application and I am sending the matter to the Sessions Court for trial,” Sofian had said, referring to the charge against Sivarasa over the Facebook posting of a doctored Time magazine cover which featured Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Sivarasa has filed an appeal.

He was charged in April 2016 with two counts of posting on his Facebook account the doctored Time magazine cover which featured Najib along with the words “No 2 on the most corrupt list”.

Sivarasa had removed the post the same day in March after learning that it was a fake.

The said offence is punishable under Section 233 (1) (a) of the CMA with a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or a jail term of up to a year or both.

Today, lawyer Latheefa Koya submitted that it would be a waste of time and resources to start the trial if the Federal Court ruled Section 233 was unconstitutional.

Government lawyer Mohd Sophian Zakaria said this case had been delayed although Sivarasa was charged two years ago.

“The trial judge in the Sessions Court last year also refused an adjournment as this case has no special circumstances,” he said.

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