Man charged with insulting Hinduism changes plea to not guilty

A former photographer of a production company accused of insulting Hinduism on his Facebook page changed his plea to not guilty. — Reuters pic
A former photographer of a production company accused of insulting Hinduism on his Facebook page changed his plea to not guilty. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — A former photographer of a production company who previously pleaded guilty to two counts of insulting Hinduism on his Facebook page changed his plea to not guilty in the Sessions Court, here today.

Judge Zamri Bakar reprimanded Zamri Abdul Razak, 52, for changing his plea at the last minute.

“You should have informed the court earlier before the proceedings started if you wanted to change your plea. The court didn’t have to wait for your counsel to be present. Other parties, the prosecution, the police involved in the case (who have been waiting since morning) should be taken into account,” the judge said.

Today was fixed to hear the facts of the case and for sentencing, however, the accused who was present before 9am did not tell the court that he wanted to change his plea, instead the man told him he was waiting for his lawyer Mohd Harris Abdullah from Raub, Pahang, causing the court to adjourn the proceedings until 12.40pm.

Mohd Harris later told the court that the accused had appointed him as his lawyer last night and had been informed that his client wished to change his plea.

“In the morning I had two cases at the Magistrate’s Court in Raub. I understand that the accused wants to change his plea, I think my presence is not needed today. However, I apologise for the misunderstanding,” he said, also apologising for being late.

Deputy public prosecutor Muhamad Asyraf Md Kamal also expressed his disappointment that the accused did not inform the court earlier about his intention to change his plea.

“Yes, it is his right to change his plea but he should have informed us on the basis of respect,” said  Muhamad Asyraf who requested the court to reconsider the bail amount of RM15,000 imposed on the accused earlier.

Judge Zamri, however, retained the bail amount of RM15,000 with one surety and fixed April 1 for mention.

According to the first and second charge, Zamri was alleged to have posted the two offensive comments via his Facebook profile ‘Zamri Bin Abd Razak’ with intent to annoy others.

Both the contents were read by another Facebook user under the name ‘Saravana Kumar’ at the Cyber Crime and Multimedia Investigation Division, Commercial Crime Investigation Department, Bukit Aman police headquarters, here, at 12.45pm, on March 10.

The charge under Section 233 (1) (a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and punishable under Section 233 (3) of the same Act provides for a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or both and shall also be liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for every day during which the offence is continued after conviction. — Bernama

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