The late lawmaker Karpal Singh was granted an acquittal by the Federal Court today in the former’s long-running sedition case concerning statements made on the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis.
In a unanimous decision, the seven-member panel today overturned the High Court’s initial guilty verdict and the Court of Appeal’s later decision to uphold the sedition conviction.
According to The Malay Mail, Chief Judge of Malaya Zaharah Ibrahim said there has been “substantial miscarriage of justice” in regards to the lower courts’ decisions.
“In the circumstances of this case, we are of the view that the failure is a serious misdirection and had occasioned a substantial miscarriage of justice which is not curable under the proviso to Section 92(1) of the Courts of Judicature Act.
“Consequently, we allow both appeals against conviction and sentence and set aside the conviction and sentence against the appellant,” Zaharah was quoted saying.
Karpal was charged over his statement made at a press conference where he said the late Perak sultan’s decision to remove then-Pakatan Rakyat's Perak Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin could be challenged in a court of law.
The late Bukit Gelugor MP perished in a car crash back in 2014, just over a month after his initial conviction by the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
He was fined RM4,000. Although the Court of Appeal upheld the verdict in 2016, it reduced the fine to RM1,800 and thereby reversing his disqualification as an MP.
Karpal’s kin including his widow, Gurmit, later filed for an appeal at the Federal Court.
Gurmit later said her husband would now be able to rest in peace after today’s ruling, noting that the apex court’s decision came 20 days before the fifth anniversary of the former DAP chairperson’s death.
She reportedly said: “His name cleared, after five years. I’m just preparing for his fifth anniversary and I know he’s now going to rest in peace.
“Justice has been seen. I’m very happy. And I thank the team, my children, especially, for having cleared his name, and the courts, thank you very much.”
The couple’s children comprise sons Dato Keramat assemblyperson Jagdeep Singh Deo, Puchong MP and federal minister Gobind Singh Deo, current Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh and daughter Sangeet Kaur Deo. All are lawyers.
Sangeet had early this year filed a suit against the chief justice for failing to defend the integrity of the judiciary over two alleged incidents of interference - her father’s sedition case and the unilateral conversion of Indira Gandhi's children.
This after judge Hamid Sultan claimed that certain members of the judiciary have been aiding private parties to defraud the government.