Lawyer: Sedition charge against late Selangor lawmaker Shuhaimi dropped

Lawyer Latheefa Koya said the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) withdrew the charge against the late Sungai Kandis assemblyman at the Shah Alam High Court yesterday. —  Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali
Lawyer Latheefa Koya said the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) withdrew the charge against the late Sungai Kandis assemblyman at the Shah Alam High Court yesterday. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali

PUTRAJAYA, July 13 — The prosecution yesterday withdrew a sedition case against the late Selangor state assemblyman Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei who died earlier this month, his lawyer confirmed today.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya said the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) withdrew the charge against the late Sungai Kandis assemblyman at the Shah Alam Sessions Court yesterday.

“Yesterday, his matter at the Shah Alam Sessions Court has been withdrawn by the DPP, but they clarified in the letter they had already withdrawn before he died,” she told reporters when met at the court here, referring to the deputy public prosecutor.

She was referring to a letter from the AGC that Shuhaimi’s lawyers received the day before yesterday.

In the letter dated July 3 and signed off by the AGC’s Solicitor-General II Datin Zauyah T. Loth Khan, the top legal official conveyed the government unit’s condolences to Shuhaimi’s lawyers over the sad news of their client’s death on July 2.

Zauyah then went on to say that the AGC had decided to accept their representation for Shuhaimi’s case under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act to be dropped.

“Referring to your letter of representation, the letter of representation’s content has been studied and the appropriate consideration given and we have decided to withdraw the case against YB Mat Suhaimi bin Shafiei.

“This matter was being considered by us before we knew of the news of his passing,” she wrote in Malay.

Latheefa said her colleague Zaid Malek was present when the sedition case was withdrawn yesterday before Sessions Court judge Mohd Sabri Ismail.

On February 7, 2011, Shuhaimi, who was then the Sri Muda state assemblyman, was charged in the Shah Alam Sessions Court with posting allegedly seditious material on his blog on December 30, 2010.

Shuhaimi's case was notable because he was successful in his constitutional challenge against a clause in the Sedition Act at the Court of Appeal, where the appellate court's ruling meant that the prosecution had to prove intention to commit sedition before someone could be convicted of it.

In a landmark ruling on November 25, 2016, the Court of Appeal had unanimously decided in Shuhaimi's favor and ruled that the Sedition Act's Section 3(3) ― which states that intention of the person charged with sedition is “irrelevant” and it was enough to prove their remarks had seditious tendency ― was unconstitutional.

But the Federal Court had on January 8 unanimously decided to set aside the Court of Appeal's landmark decision, ruling that Shuhaimi's constitutional challenge was an abuse of court process and ordered that his sedition trial at the Sessions Court should proceed.

On January 11, Shuhaimi filed an application to seek the Federal Court's review of the apex court's earlier decision over the constitutional challenge.

Latheefa today said the Federal Court's hearing of the review application has been fixed for July 31, where Shuhaimi's lawyers were expected to withdraw the review bid.

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