KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Feb: The High Court has found Karpal Singh guilty of sedition in the retrial of a matter involving remarks made by the DAP National Chairman regarding Sultan Azlan Shah’s removal of then-Perak Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaludin.
Sentencing has been deferred to March 7 to allow Karpal’s legal team to present his medical records for mitigation.
The “Tiger of Jelutong” faces a three year jail term or RM5,000 fine, which could disqualify him as MP for Bukit Gelugor.
According to Karpal’s lawyer, Gobind Singh Deo, the judge said that the Defence had failed to raise reasonable doubt in the case.
Today’s decision was delivered by Justice Azman Abdullah, the same High Court judge who had in June 2010 acquitted Karpal without calling his defence. The prosecution had appealed to the case and won its appeal in the Court of Appeal, sending the case back to Azman to be retried.
In an immediate reaction, Karpal remained calm and accepted the decision. The 74-year old was surrounded by well-wishers and supporters as well as Pakatan Rakyat leaders including Anwar Ibrahim, Wan Azizah, and Lim Guan Eng. When approached by the media, he quipped “this is not the first time I’ve been convicted.”
Charge framed in bad faith
According to Karpal’s defence team, his remarks were merely offering a legal opinion and not questioning the position or prerogative of the Perak Sultan.
“Karpal did not question the Ruler’s prerogative to appoint a Menteri Besar, but his contention is that such power can only be exercised when there is a vacancy,” said Gobind.
The defence maintained that the sedition charge was made “in bad faith”, pointing out that no charges were made against others who had made worse seditious comments during the Perak constitutional crisis. Karpal plans to file an appeal to the conviction within 14 days from today. -The Rocket