Lorry driver accused of insulting Malays and Islam out on bail

Lawyers Sukhindarpal Singh (second from right) and Y Anbanathan (right) speaking to Karitikesoo Valu’s family members outside the High Court in George Town, Penang, today.

GEORGE TOWN: A lorry driver who was denied bail nearly two weeks ago after claiming trial to a charge of insulting the Malays and Islam was offered bail of RM5,000 by the High Court here today.

This was after justice Akhtar Tahir reviewed the case of Karitikesoo Valu who has been in detention since he was charged on March 22.

Karitikesoo, 43, was charged with misusing internet services by insulting the Malays and Islam on Jan 23 using the Facebook account of “Suresh Don Don”.

He was charged under Section 233 (1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 which carries a maximum fine of RM50,000, one year’s jail, or both upon conviction.

Akhtar, in making his decision to grant Karitikesoo bail, said the accused should have been offered bail as he was eligible.

Because the CMA is silent on bail, he said, the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) should have been followed which allows bail for the accused.

He said this is especially the case if the jail term is less than three years, according to the First Schedule of the CPC.

Adding that Karitikesoo’s offence under the CMA carries jail of one year, he said Karitikesoo should have been allowed bail as there are no grounds prohibiting this.

Deputy public prosecutor Amril Johari asked the court to set bail at RM10,000 with one surety.

But Akhtar allowed bail of RM5,000 with one surety, setting aside the earlier Sessions Court decision.

Karitikesoo broke into tears in the dock while being handcuffed with other inmates. His wife, G Gangadevi, 39, posted bail.

Lawyers Sukhindarpal Singh, Y Anbanathan and V Parthipan appeared for Karitikesoo.

Case mention for the accused is on April 23 at the Sessions Court.