Malaysian legislator acquitted on charge of backing LTTE

The Malaysian High Court today acquitted and discharged Seremban Jaya assemblyman P Gunasekaran for supporting and possessing items related to the now-defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eeelam (LTTE).

Judge Muhammad Jami Husin ordered the acquittal after deputy public prosecutor Soffian Jaafar informed the court he had instruction from Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to drop the charges against the accused.

However, Soffian only urged the court to order a discharge not amounting to an acquittal against Gunasekaran, who had been charged with supporting LTTE by using a Facebook account “DAP Guna Palainisamy”.

Lawyer Ramkarpal Singh argued that his client should be acquitted, saying “he should not be left with the charge hanging over his head”.

Soffian then said he left it to the discretion of the court whether to give an acquittal or only a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA).

Under DNAA, the accused could be charged again with the same offence, while no same charge could be framed once an acquittal is given.

Ramkarpal said the discretion must be used judiciously.

Gunasekaran is being produced before another High Court judge, Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, to have another charge against him dropped.

On this charge, he is said to have supported LTTE at a function at Dewan Kasturi Ayer Keroh in Taman Ayer Keroh Heights, Melaka, on Nov 28, 2018.

On Friday, Thomas said he had decided to drop the charges against the 12 individuals accused of having links to LTTE as there was “no realistic prospect” for the conviction.

“As public prosecutor, I must conduct myself in a manner which will maintain, promote and defend the interest of justice,” he said.

“I must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against each suspect on each charge. In reaching that judgment, I must exercise discretion responsibly and impartially.”

Accordingly, Thomas said, he was exercising his discretion pursuant to Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution to discontinue proceedings against them with immediate effect.

Eleven others are expected to be produced before High Court judges this week to be set free. (Free Malaysia Today)

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