PUTRAJAYA, April 2 — The Sessions Court here today fined a photographer of a production company RM15,000 for two counts of insulting Hinduism on his Facebook account two years ago.
Judge MM Edwin Paramjothy meted out the sentence against Zamri Abdul Razak, 54, after finding that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubt against the accused at the end of the defence case.
Edwin Paramjothy in his judgement said the freedom of speech does not include the freedom to insult and demean any religion and religious beliefs of others with impunity.
“The crime of insulting one’s religion is committed not only against the person but also against the values and functions that the religion and its followers represent. Religion is something personal and dear to the one professing it.
“I also take into consideration his poor health conditions as a mitigating factor. Although I am minded not to impose a custodial sentence in this case, I agree with the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) in that it is important that a proper balance has to be struck between sympathy for the offender and the pain and suffering that he had inflicted on his victim or the damage that his criminal activity had done to society,” he said.
He added the available evidence before this court pointed out to the fact that there was no systematic arrangement and neither was there evidence of the OKS (person being summoned) continuously commenting or having posted further vile remarks.
The man, who was fined RM8,000 in default six months’ jail for the first count and RM7,000 in default six months’ jail for the second charge, paid the fine.
On the first and second counts, Zamri allegedly uploaded two offensive comments on his Facebook account under the name of ‘Zamri Bin Abd Razak’ with the intent to offend others.
According to the charges, the contents were read by a Facebook user ‘Saravana Kumar' at the Cyber Crime and Multimedia Investigation Division Office of the Commercial Crime Investigation Department, Bukit Aman Police Headquarters, at the 27th floor of Menara KPJ in Wangsa Maju, here, at 12.45pm on March 10, 2019.
The charges were framed under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and punishable under Section 233(3) of the same act, which provides for a maximum fine of RM50,000 or up to one year’s jail, or both, upon conviction and a fine of RM1,000 for every day that the offence is repeated after conviction.
On March 24, Zamri was found guilty after the court found that the defence had failed to cast reasonable doubt on the prosecution's case.
DPP Nor Azizah Aling and Iznina Hanim Hashim prosecuted, while Zamri was represented by lawyer Mohd Harris Al-Hajj Abdullah. — Bernama