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Request to amend charge against Raja Petra denied

PETALING JAYA, 10 Nov 2008: The Sessions Court has turned down the prosecution’s request to amend the sedition charge against Malaysia Today blog operator and writer Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusof filed the application here today to insert two elements, namely the title of the alleged seditious article and the website address, into the charge.

“The purpose of amendments is to make sure the accused understands the charge better under Section 153(1) of the Criminal Procedure. So far, no prejudice has arisen with regard to the evidence given by prosecution witnesses,” he said.

Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo who represented Raja Petra, objected to the application, saying that the amendments would give rise to prejudice against the defence since the prosecution had produced five witnesses to give evidence according to the original charge.

After hearing arguments from both parties, Judge Rozina Ayob ruled in favour of the defence.

Raja Petra, 58, was charged with publishing a seditious article at his house, No. 5, Jalan BRP 5/5, Bukit Rahman Putra, Sungai Buloh. The article entitled Let’s Send the Altantuya Murderers to Hell appeared on on 25 April 2008.

The charge under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 or three years in jail or both.

Meanwhile, the sixth prosecution witness — digital forensic analyst S Sivanathan, 28 — told the court there was evidence that the article had been accessed using a computer processing unit and laptop belonging to Raja Petra.

He said this was based on his study and interpretation of a report from the Computer Forensic Investigation Unit, Cyber and Multimedia Crime Investigation Division, Commercial Crime Investigation Department, Royal Malaysia Police, dated 4 May 2008 prepared by one ASP Wa’ie.

He said the computer seized by the police had been used to access Malaysia Today website using a username and password. “Without the username and password we cannot access any programme that requires it,” he said.

The hearing continues tomorrow. — Bernama


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