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International observer for Karpal’s trial

KUALA LUMPUR, 27 July 2009: The High Court has allowed an international observer from Lawasia (The Law Association for Asia and the Pacific) to hold a watching brief in the sedition trial of DAP chairperson Karpal Singh.

Judicial Commissioner Azman Abdullah directed Lawasia to write officially to the court, and forward a copy of the letter to the deputy public prosecutor’s office.

He said the court had received two letters on 30 June and 7 July from the Bar Council on Lawasia’s intention to hold a watching brief. This was to facilitate Lawasia’s application to enable an official letter to be addressed directly to the court, rather than going through the bar.

However, Azman said he would allow any representative from Lawasia, and not just former high court judge from Australia Jeffrey Allan Miles, as specified in the letters.

“Lawasia can send any of its representatives, as long they write officially to the court,” he said.

Trials and Appeals Division Head in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Datuk Kamaluddin Mohd Said, said under the Legal Profession Act 1976, only those lawyers who were qualified to practise in Malaysians courts could hold the watching brief.

He also questioned the necessity for Lawasia to hold the watching brief since the council was already holding a watching brief to protect its member’s interest.

“(A) Lawasia representative can act as observer and we don’t (have) any objection if they just sit in the public gallery and follow the proceedings,” added Kamaluddin.

Lawyer Anand Ponnudurai, of the council, told the court that Lawasia was more like an observer, rather than involved in the court proceedings.

On 17 March, Karpal pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to uttering seditious words relating to the Sultan of Perak, in a news conference at his office, Messrs Karpal Singh & Co, in Jalan Pudu Lama here between noon and 12.30pm on 6 Feb.

Counsel Gobind Singh Deo today informed the court that Karpal was warded at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre after complaining of high fever.

The sedition trial has been fixed for 12 Aug. — Bernama

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