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AGC dismisses representation by Sarawak Report editor to withdraw defamation charge

Clare Rewcastle-Brown's lawyer says a new representation will be submitted.

2 minute read
Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown. Photo: AFP
Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown. Photo: AFP

The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has rejected the representation by Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown for the prosecution to withdraw the charge against her of making defamatory statements against Terengganu's Sultanah Nur Zahirah.

Rewcastle-Brown, who is from the UK, was charged in absentia with defaming Sultanah Nur Zahirah in a book, "The Sarawak Report - The Inside Story of the 1MDB Expose", at the Kuala Terengganu Magistrate's Court on Sept 23, 2021.

The charge, framed under Section 500 of the Penal Code, provides for imprisonment of up to two years, a fine, or both upon conviction.

Her lawyer, Guok Ngek Seong, said he was informed of the matter through a letter sent via email on Jan 25.

"We will submit a new representation to the AGC in due course," Guok said when met by reporters after case management before High Court deputy registrar Catherine Nicholas today.
Guok said the court had fixed March 10 for further case management before a new judge, K Muniandy.

Muniandy replaces Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, who is now a Court of Appeal judge.

Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Noor Haslinda Che Seman, when contacted, confirmed the matter.

She said the hearing of the case, which was supposed to take place at the Kuala Terengganu Magistrate's Court last month, was postponed pending Rewcastle-Brown's application to transfer the case to the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Rewcastle-Brown filed the representation on Dec 13 last year following a High Court decision on Oct 31 dismissing the defamation suit filed against her by Sultanah Nur Zahirah.

In her application, Rewcastle-Brown said the High Court had ruled that the paragraph in the book was not defamatory, and that the prosecution would face difficulties proving the case beyond reasonable doubt.

Judicial commissioner John Lee Kien How @ Johan Lee ruled that the statement complained of in the book was not defamatory of the sultanah and ordered RM80,000 in costs to be paid to Rewcastle-Brown and the other defendants, namely publisher Cheong Ton Sin and printer Vinlin Press Sdn Bhd.