The Court of Appeal today cleared Amanah president Mohamad Sabu of two criminal defamation charges over his remarks on the 1950 Bukit Kepong incident.
A three-man bench comprising Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, Ahmadi Asnawi and Rhodzariah Bujang dismissed the prosecution's appeal and upheld his acquittal against the charges.
The prosecution was appealing against the decisions of a sessions court and the High Court in acquitting Mohamad Sabu of the charges at the end of the prosecution's case without ordering him to enter his defence.
In a unanimous decision, justice Tengku Maimun, who chaired the court panel, said the court found no reason to depart from the reason made by the high court that the charges imposed on Mohamad Sabu were defective.
"No misdirection by the High Court and trial judge in concluding that the prosecution had not sufficiently proven a prima facie case," she said.
Mohamad Sabu, who is popularly known as Mat Sabu, was charged with allegedly defaming policemen and their family members who defended themselves in the Feb 23, 1950 attack by communist guerrillas at the Bukit Kepong Police station.
He was alternatively charged under the same section with allegedly criminally defaming three policemen – marine constable Abu Bakar Daud, constable Jaafar Hassan and sergeant Yusoff Rono – and their family members.
Mohamad Sabu, 61, was alleged to have committed the offence in front of Pusat Asuhan Tadika Islam (Pasti) Al-Fahmi, Markas Tarbiyah PAS in Padang Menora, Tasek Gelugor, Penang between 10pm and midnight on Aug 21, 2011.
His lawyer, Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, submitted that the ingredients of the offence were not disclosed in the charge.
However, deputy public prosecutor Nurulhuda Nur'aini Mohamad Nor, who prosecuted, argued that the charge was not defective as the offence was disclosed in the charge.
Mohamad, in a statement later, said he was thankful for the decision as well as his lawyers' for their effort in defending him.
Mohamad reiterated that the struggle for independence was not limited to Umno leaders like Tunku Abdul Rahman and Onn Jaafar.
He pointed out that grassroots leaders such as Burhanuddin al-Helmy, Ibrahim Yaakob, Ahmad Boestamam, Abu Bakar al-Baqir and other leaders such as Mat Indera were also part of the struggle for independence.
Mohamad was charged over his suggestion that Mat Indera, a guerilla fighter who clashed with police, was an independence fighter.