KUALA LUMPUR, 24 Nov 2008: Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin who is accused of defaming Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife of the deputy prime minister, and two others in a statutory declaration (SD), today asked the Sessions Court here to subpoena two policemen.
His counsel Manjeet Singh Dhillon said the defence had submitted an application to the court on 20 Nov requesting it to issue subpoenas against C/Insp Azilah Hadri and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, whom he intended to call as defence witnesses and also for identification purposes in the prosecution’s case.
Manjeet said the defence had listed six defence witnesses including Azilah and Sirul Azhar. The duo have been ordered to enter their defence on a charge of murdering Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu at the Shah Alam High Court beginning 15 Jan next year.
Manjit also asked the court to adjourn Raja Petra’s trial pending the decision by the Shah Alam High Court on Azilah and Sirul Azhar’s defence testimonies.
However, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Anselm Charles Fernandis opposed Manjeet’s application to issue subpoenas against Azilah and Sirul Azhar saying that Manjeet should only make the application after the court had ordered Raja Petra to enter his defence on the charge.
He said at this stage the trial had yet to start.
Judge Mohamad Sekeri Mamat said he would decide on whether to issue subpoenas against Azilah and Sirul Azhar later.
On 15 Aug, Raja Petra was charged with committing three offences at Civil High Court 5 on the fourth floor of the Court Complex in Jalan Duta here at 10.25am on 18 June.
Besides the defamation charge, Raja Petra is also alleged to have defamed acting colonel Abdul Aziz Buyong and his wife, Kolonel Norhayati Hassan.
If convicted, he faces up to two years in jail or a fine, or both, on each charge under Section 500 of the Penal Code.
Today was fixed for the trial and the prosecution had informed the court that it was ready to call its first witness.
However, at the outset, Manjeet made a preliminary objection seeking the Sessions Court’s order to send back Raja Petra’s case for trial at the Magistrate’s Court.
The objection was on the grounds that the Magistrate’s order was illegal, void and contrary to the provisions of Sections 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
On 15 Aug, Magistrate Nazran Mohd Sham allowed DPP Amir Nasruddin’s application to transfer Raja Petra’s case to the Sessions Court on the ground that it involved public interest.
Manjeet had contended that the magistrate’s order to transfer the case to the Sessions Court was unconstitutional and breached the equality of Article 8 (1) of the Federal Constitution.
DPP Anselm will reply tomorrow. – Bernama