KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — The prosecution has decided not to pursue a bid to increase the fine of RM1,500 on PKR’s Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad over a 2013 rally.
Nik Nazmi, who was in and out of court the past five years over this rally, said he now considers the matter to be settled.
“I have been informed by my lawyers that the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) has decided to discontinue the appeal to increase the RM1500 fine imposed against me under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 due to the 2013 Black 505 rally,” the Setiawangsa MP said in a statement today.
“I am grateful that the DPP has agreed to do so as I have long believed that the time resources spent on prosecuting me over what was ultimately a peaceful rally could have been better used elsewhere,” the Pakatan Harapan youth leader added.
“I consider this matter closed and I hope the government will work together with Parliament as well as civil society to consider how the freedom of assembly can continue to be exercised peaceably and lawfully by all Malaysians,” he said, having noted that he was charged repeatedly over the same rally despite being acquitted.
He had also last year succeeded in suing the former attorney-general and government for malicious prosecution.
Nik Nazmi had in December 2016 paid a RM1,500 fine, after pleading guilty in the High Court to the PAA 2012 offence of not giving a 10-day advance notice to the police of the Blackout 505 rally that was held on May 8, 2013.
The prosecution then appealed to have the fine increased, but the Court of Appeal had in January this year dismissed the appeal.
The Court of Appeal’s decision meant that Nik Nazmi could contest in the 14th general election.
Under Article 48 of the Federal Constitution, lawmakers are automatically disqualified from holding office if they are convicted of an offence and fined not less than RM2,000 or sentenced to not less than a year in prison.
When contacted, Nik Nazmi’s lawyer Syahredzan Johan confirmed that the prosecution had appealed to the Federal Court to increase the RM1,500 fine.
“Yesterday we got the letter,” he said when asked when the prosecution informed them that it would be dropping the appeal.
A recap of the legal saga
Nik Nazmi's legal battles began on May 17, 2013 when he was first charged with allegedly violating Section 9(1) of the PAA 2012 by failing to give the 10-day advance notice.
This offence was punishable under Section 9(5) with a maximum RM10,000 fine.
Nik Nazmi failed in November 2013 in his constitutional challenge of Section 9(5) at the High Court, but the Court of Appeal on April 24, 2014 reversed that decision and in a landmark ruling struck out Section 9(5) — which criminalises spontaneous assemblies — as an unconstitutional law.
The Petaling Jaya Sessions Court had on May 5, 2014 then affirmed the Court of Appeal’s decision to discharge Nik Nazmi, but the prosecution charged him again on May 6, 2014 at the same court for the second time with the same offence.
The Petaling Jaya Sessions Court had, however, on the same day on May 6, 2014 discharged Nik Nazmi as it was bound by the Court of Appeal’s decision.
After the previous acquittals, the prosecution again charged Nik Nazmi on October 6, 2015 for the third time in the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court with the same offence.
Nik Nazmi had previously said he then pleaded guilty and was fined RM1,500 in December 2016 after coming to an agreement with the prosecution over the long drawn-out matter. This was the amount which the prosecution was appealing against.
Separately, Nik Nazmi had on March 31, 2015 filed a civil lawsuit against former attorney-general Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and the Malaysian government for “malicious prosecution” and “misfeasance in public office.”
On December 26, 2017, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur awarded Nik Nazmi RM230,000 in damages when he won his malicious prosecution lawsuit against the then attorney-general and government.