Rewcastle-Brown says unaware of RM100 mil defamation suit

Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown says the article has passed the statutory limitation for libel complaints in the UK.

PETALING JAYA: Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown said she is unaware of a RM100 million lawsuit being filed against her by V Mabel Muthayyah, a former secretariat head in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, for alleged defamation.

Rewcastle-Brown said she had only received a letter of demand, emailed a few days ago, demanding RM100 million for lost earnings after Mabel allegedly lost her role working for the AGC following publication of an article in 2015.

She said the article was published in December 2015 in the United Kingdom and that it had, therefore, passed the statutory limitation for libel complaints in the UK.

The article was not published in Malaysia as the site was banned at that time “and blocked by the government of the day”, she said.

“Anyone who read it was in effect committing an act termed illegal by Mabel’s employers. I have certainly received no formal writ from either jurisdiction that would require a response,” she said.

Rewcastle-Brown was responding to an article in Malaysiakini quoting Mabel’s lawyer, David Gurupatham, as saying that a suit had been filed against her for “a very serious allegation levelled against a member of the administration of justice”.

“The situation is confusing not least because the lawyer does not explain in which jurisdiction he plans to file his threatened suit,” she said.

Gurupatham was quoted as saying the claim of RM100 million was inclusive of aggravated and exemplary damages, together with an injunction against causing further defamation, as well as a mandatory order for her to remove such posting from the website.

The Sarawak Report article, titled “How AG’s Office connived to prevent a second post-mortem on Kevin Morais – Exclusive expose”, had alleged that Mabel had sent texts to the family members of the late deputy public prosecutor, urging them to expedite the cremation of his remains to prevent a second post-mortem.

Rewcastle-Brown told FMT Mabel had complained that “I did not offer her a right of reply, however neither did she contact our site at the time to report any response or corrections to the content”, she said.

She added, however, that she had “copious information and evidence on the case”.

The remains of Morais were found in a steel drum after he was kidnapped from his car on the way to work in September 2015.

A former army doctor and five others have been charged with his murder.