(Updated 3:51pm, 17 March 2009)
KUALA LUMPUR, 17 March 2009: DAP chairperson Karpal Singh pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here today to sedition.
The senior lawyer is alleged to have uttered seditious words during a media conference relating to the Sultan of Perak at his office at Messrs Karpal Singh and Co in Jalan Pudu Lama here between noon and 12.30pm on 6 Feb 2009.
Karpal, who is also Bukit Gelugor Member of Parliament, was charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948. If convicted, he faces a maximum RM5,000 fine or three years jail, or both.
Judge Mohamad Sakeri fixed bail at RM2,000 with one surety.
The case will be transferred to the High Court.
The prosecution was represented by Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Kamaludin Md Said and Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria while Karpal was assisted by 12 other lawyers including his four children — Gobind Singh Deo, Jagdeep Singh Deo, Sangeet Kaur Deo and Ram Karpal Deo.
Karpal’s wife, Gurmeet Kaur, and several supporters were seen in court.
Earlier, Karpal applied to remain outside the dock since his wheelchair could not get inside it. “I don’t want privileges because usually the accused is supposed to be get inside the dock but can I be exempted?”
The judge allowed the request after the prosecution did not object to it.
The charge took 15 minutes to be read after Karpal asked to hear the contents of all the 10-page attachments furnished by the prosecution before entering his plea although the judge had initially ordered only the relevant parts to be read.
Speaking to reporters later, Karpal said the prosecution was politically motivated and it had not proof.
Asked why he did not object the transfer, he said: “I think we should go to the High Court. This is a proper case for High Court. The case can be taken up to the Federal Court, which is the highest court in the country.”
Karpal had been charged under the same Act on 15 Jan 2000 in the Sessions Court here for seditious statements on arsenic poisoning during Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s trial. The prosecution dropped the charge in 2003. — Bernama